Integration in Cloud
Organization world over have realized critical benefits of the cloud delivery models and fortune 100 organizations have already migrated to the cloud models which includes public, private, and hybrid cloud deployments. The rest are either planning or aspiring to move to the various cloud models in near future. Quick turnaround times, low capex, infinite capacity, BC-DR, and the ability to scale up and down instantly are the key takeaways for the cloud models.
Integration Options in Cloud
This article covers the available options for integrating on-premise applications with the cloud based applications. Organizations must formulate on the best way to create integration between cloud-hosted, SaaS and on-premises applications. The key to success is to find the best fit approach delivered by each integration that maximizes the business value while lowering costs and risks.
iPaaS is a cloud-hosted solution for cloud and on-premise application and data integration. The platform is hosted and managed by the cloud provider such as IBM and offered as a service. This approach creates a suite of integrations rather than a single one. Customer have to subscribe to the platform, select the modules and services needed to configure and automate applications integration. The cloud provider handles the rest, including data governance, security, software patches, hardware management, and new feature roll-outs. iPaaS provides organizations a standardized way to connect applications, data, processes, and services across on-premises, private cloud, and public cloud environments without having to purchase, install, manage, and maintain the integration hardware, middleware, and software. iPaaS is a best alternative when there is a need to connect various clouds or on-premise applications as it provides a wide range of connectivity options, robust application program interface (API), security and data management techniques. iPaaS may have limited functionality to integrate deeply interms of the on-premise applications.
2. Integration Platforms – ISV Platform Suite
Integration platforms are leveraged when a large portfolio of integrations are to be managed and the data must be transformed and transferred between many different applications. There are various Middleware platforms, which can be leveraged to connect on-premise applications with the cloud. E.g. are IBM SOA, IBM Message Broker, IBM MQ and IBM ESB.
The major differences between ISV Integration Platform like IBM MQ and iPaaS lie in the way it is procured, deployed and governed. In terms of the integration platform, the licenses are procured by the organization and the platform has to be installed, managed, governed and maintained in the customer data center. The integration platform has the ability to hand complex integration in the on-premise landscape.
3. SaaS Tooling
Many ISV and SaaS vendors provide solutions specific to one capability and that offers out-of-the-box integrations, which enables easy integration between applications. These solutions capabilities are not as extensive as iPaaS but are based on the same model as iPaaS where in the customer will be able to deploy it in a private or public cloud environments without having to purchase, install, manage, and maintain the integration hardware, middleware, and software. This approach works well for users, as it is fairly easy to implement and configure. However, those conveniences come at the cost of flexibility and control.
4. Product Tooling
ISV like IBM have integration tooling tailored to their solutions for ease of integration with external systems. For example, IBM Cognos Integration - allow integration options between their Cognos systems and other on-premise / cloud applications, without directly hitting the core database. ISV offer out-of-the-box integrations, and third parties provide extensions or plug-ins that enable easy integration between applications. This approach works well, as it is also easy to implement, update and configure.
5. Custom Integrations - API
Custom Integration is another means of integrating between cloud and on-premise applications. In terms of integration this is a direct integration between systems, and this is specifically customed tailored for the business needs. Integration between application and external systems can be established by XML APIs and adapters and leveraging languages like C++ or Java.
Integration Tooling Selection Matrix:
The following diagram shows a matrix that can serve as a quick reference guideline while choosing the right integration alternative. Please note that the below view is basis past project experiences and may be influenced based on overall system context and landscape.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s views and AtoS does not subscribe to the substance, veracity or truthfulness of the said opinion.