Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Xenia von Wedel, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, William Schmarzo

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
Agile has finally jumped the technology shark, expanding outside the software world. Enterprises are now increasingly adopting Agile practices across their organizations in order to successfully navigate the disruptive waters that threaten to drown them. In our quest for establishing change as a core competency in our organizations, this business-centric notion of Agile is an essential component of Agile Digital Transformation. In the years since the publication of the Agile Manifesto, the conn...
"We're developing a software that is based on the cloud environment and we are providing those services to corporations and the general public," explained Seungmin Kim, CEO/CTO of SM Systems Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
The question before companies today is not whether to become intelligent, it’s a question of how and how fast. The key is to adopt and deploy an intelligent application strategy while simultaneously preparing to scale that intelligence. In her session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sangeeta Chakraborty, Chief Customer Officer at Ayasdi, provided a tactical framework to become a truly intelligent enterprise, including how to identify the right applications for AI, how to build a Center of Excellence to oper...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, James Henry, Co-CEO/CTO of Calgary Scientific Inc., introduced you to the challenges, solutions and benefits of training AI systems to solve visual problems with an emphasis on improving AIs with continuous training in the field. He explored applications in several industries and discussed technologies that allow the deployment of advanced visualization solutions to the cloud.
While some developers care passionately about how data centers and clouds are architected, for most, it is only the end result that matters. To the majority of companies, technology exists to solve a business problem, and only delivers value when it is solving that problem. 2017 brings the mainstream adoption of containers for production workloads. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ben McCormack, VP of Operations at Evernote, discussed how data centers of the future will be managed, how the p...
Large industrial manufacturing organizations are adopting the agile principles of cloud software companies. The industrial manufacturing development process has not scaled over time. Now that design CAD teams are geographically distributed, centralizing their work is key. With large multi-gigabyte projects, outdated tools have stifled industrial team agility, time-to-market milestones, and impacted P&L stakeholders.
Enterprises are adopting Kubernetes to accelerate the development and the delivery of cloud-native applications. However, sharing a Kubernetes cluster between members of the same team can be challenging. And, sharing clusters across multiple teams is even harder. Kubernetes offers several constructs to help implement segmentation and isolation. However, these primitives can be complex to understand and apply. As a result, it’s becoming common for enterprises to end up with several clusters. Thi...
"NetApp is known as a data management leader but we do a lot more than just data management on-prem with the data centers of our customers. We're also big in the hybrid cloud," explained Wes Talbert, Principal Architect at NetApp, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"We're focused on how to get some of the attributes that you would expect from an Amazon, Azure, Google, and doing that on-prem. We believe today that you can actually get those types of things done with certain architectures available in the market today," explained Steve Conner, VP of Sales at Cloudistics, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
It is of utmost importance for the future success of WebRTC to ensure that interoperability is operational between web browsers and any WebRTC-compliant client. To be guaranteed as operational and effective, interoperability must be tested extensively by establishing WebRTC data and media connections between different web browsers running on different devices and operating systems. In his session at WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, Dr. Alex Gouaillard, CEO and Founder of CoSMo Software, presented ...
"There's plenty of bandwidth out there but it's never in the right place. So what Cedexis does is uses data to work out the best pathways to get data from the origin to the person who wants to get it," explained Simon Jones, Evangelist and Head of Marketing at Cedexis, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
WebRTC is great technology to build your own communication tools. It will be even more exciting experience it with advanced devices, such as a 360 Camera, 360 microphone, and a depth sensor camera. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Masashi Ganeko, a manager at INFOCOM Corporation, introduced two experimental projects from his team and what they learned from them. "Shotoku Tamago" uses the robot audition software HARK to track speakers in 360 video of a remote party. "Virtual Teleport" uses a multip...
"We work around really protecting the confidentiality of information, and by doing so we've developed implementations of encryption through a patented process that is known as superencipherment," explained Richard Blech, CEO of Secure Channels Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.