Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Yeshim Deniz, Liz McMillan, Aruna Ravichandran

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo

@CloudExpo: Blog Post

Is Your Integration Platform a Relic?

Just because it runs on a Cloud doesn't mean it's modern

Fundamentally, as companies increasingly adopt more and more SaaS/cloud-based applications, as more and more data are cloud-based, and as social networking data becomes increasingly critical to sales, marketing and customer satisfaction applications, the "old style" integration stacks that were originally created to run on on-premises PCs or servers will be a non-optimal solution.

This is the normal evolution of things. The mainframe-centric nature of computing gave way to client/server which in turn gave way to Internet and then SaaS/cloud.

Just like mainframe-based applications could never really be retrofitted to be good client/server applications, or how non-relational databases never really worked well with SQL front-ends slapped on, older architectures (server or LAN-based application integration suites) can't simply be retrofitted or wrappered to become sky-based.

As the nature of applications and data change, so must the nature of the integration suites that bring them all together. The EDI hub from 1990 isn't going to provide the right architecture for this. The B2B or EAI server from 2001 can't do this. The nature of the problem has changed.

I'm not saying that every bit of "old style" integration technology needs to be thrown out. A lot of the technologies are similar. But the changing nature of data, applications and integration is significant enough to drive important changes in the integration suites that bring all this data together. Especially for those organizations who plan on (or already have) a lot of cloud/SaaS-based data.

Perhaps most important, though, is the substantial leap forward in productivity and ease of use that the new cloud-based integration suites bring to the table - so irrespective of where your data are, you may want to consider a cloud-based solution for that reason alone.

The Locus of Integration
Apart from the things that I've already mentioned, there is one more important thing that older architectures aren't adept at handling: the changing locus of integration.

Many years ago, the locus, or "center of effort" for integration was the mainframe. Simply because every application and every bit of data were mainframe-based.

In the 1990s and early 2000s when many integration stacks were first built, the locus of integration moved to "the data center", as applications were mostly distributed on servers based in the data center, and connected via the LAN/WAN".

As an increasing number of applications and data silos are sky (i.e., cloud and/or SaaS) based, the locus of integration is shifting closer and closer to the sky. For many organizations, this locus is ALREADY closer to the cloud than it is to the data center.

At the point where the locus of integration becomes closer to the sky than the ground, it makes sense to consider moving the ACT of integration itself (i.e. the Integration hub) into the Cloud.

So, one key aspect of Integration for 2012 and beyond is the ability to support the changing locus of integration by supporting data center-centric, cloud-centric data and applications.

A Word to the Wise
Be careful - there are fair number of "pretenders" out there "technology comb-overs" that pretend to be cloud or SaaS solutions, but are not the "real thing." Just because something runs "on a cloud" doesn't make it a cloud or SaaS solution.

One of the primary benefits of the new "SaaS / cloud" world is so much about enhanced productivity. That doesn't just happen magically by stuffing a bunch of decades-old EDI or ETL code up on the cloud and running it there. You might as well  take a COBOL program from 1975 and somehow make it work on Amazon's Cloud - character based "green screen" interface and all.

Cloud and SaaS Integration products need to be about a modern event-based, services-based integration architecture - based on (not just supporting) approaches such as REST or SOAP.  Multi-tenant, pay-as-you-go, the whole thing. And they need to have modern tools for development, configuration and deployment - all browser based.

The new generation of cloud-based Integration solutions such as Boomi (Dell), InformaticaCloud, SnapLogic and newcomer MuleSoft iON (among others) are designed from the ground up to be cloud-based integration platforms. These REAL cloud-based products have implementation/deployment times measured in a few weeks.

Many of the "re-tread" pretenders are just the same "dinosaur" on-premises EDI, EAI or data integration solutions that have been around since before people realized that Y2K was a problem.  These are products that have a reputation for taking 3-6 months (or longer) to implement - and for years have given Integration a bad name for reportedly being complex, risky, brittle, and difficult/expensive to implement.

Cloud-Based Integration for Cloud-based Applications
Anyhow, it should come as no surprise to you that that 95% of companies (based on a recent survey) plan to implement cloud-based integration. Over 40% of respondents indicated that cloud-based integration will be part of their future within two years.

I was personally a bit baffled by 5% stating that cloud-based integration would "never" be implemented at their organizations. I suspect (although do not know) that those organizations have certain characteristics that do not lend themselves to the movement of sensitive data outside carefully protected boundaries. Or, as David Linthicum pointed out recently, organizations such as the Federal Government - who, although they acknowledge the cost savings of cloud over time, they lack the seed capital to make the move "right now".

Conclusion and Recommendations
It's clear that the very nature of applications and data - where they reside, what forms they are in, how and by whom they are used, how often they change, etc. is in a state of rapid transformation.

The very nature of application and data integration needs to change at an architectural level in order to accommodate the corresponding architectural-level shift in applications and data. To date, many of the traditional application integration technologies have failed (in varying degrees) to rise to that challenge. Their older LAN or Server-based architectures will leave them increasingly at a competitive disadvantage.

It would behoove those choosing cloud-based integration solutions to be careful in choosing cloud-based integration platforms to make sure that they're getting the real deal. Otherwise, they may find themselves giving answers like "cost too much," "took too long," "wasn't flexible enough" in some future market research survey.

Note: The data referred to in this article come from 2011 Application Connection Priorities a research report by GatePoint Research.

More Stories By Hollis Tibbetts

Hollis Tibbetts, or @SoftwareHollis as his 50,000+ followers know him on Twitter, is listed on various “top 100 expert lists” for a variety of topics – ranging from Cloud to Technology Marketing, Hollis is by day Evangelist & Software Technology Director at Dell Software. By night and weekends he is a commentator, speaker and all-round communicator about Software, Data and Cloud in their myriad aspects. You can also reach Hollis on LinkedIn – linkedin.com/in/SoftwareHollis. His latest online venture is OnlineBackupNews - a free reference site to help organizations protect their data, applications and systems from threats. Every year IT Downtime Costs $26.5 Billion In Lost Revenue. Even with such high costs, 56% of enterprises in North America and 30% in Europe don’t have a good disaster recovery plan. Online Backup News aims to make sure you all have the news and tips needed to keep your IT Costs down and your information safe by providing best practices, technology insights, strategies, real-world examples and various tips and techniques from a variety of industry experts.

Hollis is a regularly featured blogger at ebizQ, a venue focused on enterprise technologies, with over 100,000 subscribers. He is also an author on Social Media Today "The World's Best Thinkers on Social Media", and maintains a blog focused on protecting data: Online Backup News.
He tweets actively as @SoftwareHollis

Additional information is available at HollisTibbetts.com

All opinions expressed in the author's articles are his own personal opinions vs. those of his employer.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@CloudExpo Stories
Companies are harnessing data in ways we once associated with science fiction. Analysts have access to a plethora of visualization and reporting tools, but considering the vast amount of data businesses collect and limitations of CPUs, end users are forced to design their structures and systems with limitations. Until now. As the cloud toolkit to analyze data has evolved, GPUs have stepped in to massively parallel SQL, visualization and machine learning.
Recently, REAN Cloud built a digital concierge for a North Carolina hospital that had observed that most patient call button questions were repetitive. In addition, the paper-based process used to measure patient health metrics was laborious, not in real-time and sometimes error-prone. In their session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sean Finnerty, Executive Director, Practice Lead, Health Care & Life Science at REAN Cloud, and Dr. S.P.T. Krishnan, Principal Architect at REAN Cloud, will discuss how they b...
Enterprises have taken advantage of IoT to achieve important revenue and cost advantages. What is less apparent is how incumbent enterprises operating at scale have, following success with IoT, built analytic, operations management and software development capabilities – ranging from autonomous vehicles to manageable robotics installations. They have embraced these capabilities as if they were Silicon Valley startups. As a result, many firms employ new business models that place enormous impor...
The next XaaS is CICDaaS. Why? Because CICD saves developers a huge amount of time. CD is an especially great option for projects that require multiple and frequent contributions to be integrated. But… securing CICD best practices is an emerging, essential, yet little understood practice for DevOps teams and their Cloud Service Providers. The only way to get CICD to work in a highly secure environment takes collaboration, patience and persistence. Building CICD in the cloud requires rigorous a...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Dasher Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Dasher Technologies, Inc. ® is a premier IT solution provider that delivers expert technical resources along with trusted account executives to architect and deliver complete IT solutions and services to help our clients execute their goals, plans and objectives. Since 1999, we'v...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MIRAI Inc. will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MIRAI Inc. are IT consultants from the public sector whose mission is to solve social issues by technology and innovation and to create a meaningful future for people.
Data scientists must access high-performance computing resources across a wide-area network. To achieve cloud-based HPC visualization, researchers must transfer datasets and visualization results efficiently. HPC clusters now compute GPU-accelerated visualization in the cloud cluster. To efficiently display results remotely, a high-performance, low-latency protocol transfers the display from the cluster to a remote desktop. Further, tools to easily mount remote datasets and efficiently transfer...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, will provide a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. Together we will solve a machine learning problem and find an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intellige...
SYS-CON Events announced today that TidalScale, a leading provider of systems and services, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TidalScale has been involved in shaping the computing landscape. They've designed, developed and deployed some of the most important and successful systems and services in the history of the computing industry - internet, Ethernet, operating s...
SYS-CON Events announced today that TidalScale will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TidalScale is the leading provider of Software-Defined Servers that bring flexibility to modern data centers by right-sizing servers on the fly to fit any data set or workload. TidalScale’s award-winning inverse hypervisor technology combines multiple commodity servers (including their ass...
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
Amazon is pursuing new markets and disrupting industries at an incredible pace. Almost every industry seems to be in its crosshairs. Companies and industries that once thought they were safe are now worried about being “Amazoned.”. The new watch word should be “Be afraid. Be very afraid.” In his session 21st Cloud Expo, Chris Kocher, a co-founder of Grey Heron, will address questions such as: What new areas is Amazon disrupting? How are they doing this? Where are they likely to go? What are th...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM has been named “Diamond Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.
We all know that end users experience the Internet primarily with mobile devices. From an app development perspective, we know that successfully responding to the needs of mobile customers depends on rapid DevOps – failing fast, in short, until the right solution evolves in your customers' relationship to your business. Whether you’re decomposing an SOA monolith, or developing a new application cloud natively, it’s not a question of using microservices – not doing so will be a path to eventual b...
Infoblox delivers Actionable Network Intelligence to enterprise, government, and service provider customers around the world. They are the industry leader in DNS, DHCP, and IP address management, the category known as DDI. We empower thousands of organizations to control and secure their networks from the core-enabling them to increase efficiency and visibility, improve customer service, and meet compliance requirements.
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Michael Burley, a Senior Business Development Executive in IT Services at NetApp, will describe how NetApp designed a three-year program of work to migrate 25PB of a major telco's enterprise data to a new STaaS platform, and then secured a long-term contract to manage and operate the platform. This significant program blended the best of NetApp’s solutions and services capabilities to enable this telco’s successful adoption of private cloud storage and launchi...
In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Dumas, Calligo’s Vice President and G.M. of US operations, will go over the new Global Data Protection Regulation and how Calligo can help business stay compliant in digitally globalized world. Greg Dumas is Calligo's Vice President and G.M. of US operations. Calligo is an established service provider that provides an innovative platform for trusted cloud solutions. Calligo’s customers are typically most concerned about GDPR compliance, applicatio...
Join IBM November 1 at 21st Cloud Expo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, and learn how IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Cognitive analysis impacts today’s systems with unparalleled ability that were previously available only to manned, back-end operations. Thanks to cloud processing, IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Imagine a robot vacuum that becomes your personal assistant tha...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM has been named “Diamond Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, will lead you through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He'll look at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering ...