Integrating cloud applications with existing investments is often cited as one of the key barriers to businesses adopting more cloud based solutions, with issues around security, complexity and managing integration across the boundaries of the enterprise often derailing or slowing down cloud adoption.
Traditional on premise integration tools have been slow to adapt to the challenges of Cloud Integration, and are often not best placed to handle REST APIs and other cloud requirements effectively. Therefore in order to move past this integration barrier we can turn to the Cloud for the answer in the form of Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) solutions.
iPaaS solutions have been built for the cloud from the beginning, they therefore have some key advantages over on premise solutions:
1) Native SaaS Integration
Any worthwhile iPaaS solution will have numerous connectors for different SaaS solutions, these connectors simplify connecting solutions from different providers with each other and your on premise landscape.
Where a native connector is not available an iPaaS solution must be able to work with the proliferation of APIs provisioned by SaaS providers to allow integration with their products.
2) Hybrid Integration
iPaaS solutions must be equally capable of integrating with traditional Enterpise applications (such as SAP) as they are with SaaS solutions in order to support the increasing number of hybrid landscapes in the enterprise.
3) Built in Security
Security is a hot topic within the cloud domain, and this is all the more relevant for iPaaS. Where security needs to be enforced not just from the network and infrastructure perspective, but also for the metadata used to run your integrations and your business data processed by the tool. Fortunately iPaaS platforms have been designed to be secure from the ground up and are often far more secure than their on premise counterparts.
4) SaaS Benefits
As iPaaS is another form of SaaS you will also gain from some of the benefits inherent within SaaS offerings – such as automatic pain-free upgrades, a multi-tenant architecture, global access and usage based pricing.
A number of new tools and services have begun to enter the market, including HANA Cloud Integration (HCI) from SAP (see here for a real world view on HCI). This adds up to more choice in the marketplace, and an even tougher decision point for businesses embarking on their cloud journey.
This is a journey that AgilityWorks ourselves have been on over the past few months and I’ll be expanding on what we see as some of the key decision points for customers embarking on cloud projects in 2015 in a future series of follow-on blogs.