I recently read an article that outlined three key considerations before moving to a hybrid cloud infrastructure, it highlighted that legacy event management tools that have been made obsolete by virtue of their lack of cloud support. This made me think about traditional Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) tools, are they being made obsolete due to a lack of cloud support?
While most ESB suppliers will tell you they can integrate with anything, we need to look at key areas to see if they continue to be fit for purpose in a Hybrid Cloud environment;
1) Security: For any organization Security is one of the prime concerns when integrating cloud applications, not least because SaaS by its very nature requires your ESB to connect to systems outside of the company network.
2) Connectivity Challenges: Connectivity in general can be trickier in a cloud environment. Here are a few important considerations:
- Standard connectors – You must decide based on the functionality offered if an ESB product fit in your requirement. Availability of adapters for applications in your landscape play a deciding role, especially for B2B products such as Salesforce or SAP.
- Support for Latest technologies – Most ESB tools available in the market were designed to support a limited set of protocols/standards and integration approaches and have not evolved since. They may not support ODATA, JSON, REST standards and API Integration which are the preferred choices of today’s Industry.
- Expandability – From an expansion prospective an organization need to have new solutions/application to address expending business requirements and thus they may need to build a suitable application specific custom adapter, if not already available in the market.
3) Long turn around for new enhancements – Most ESB tools have fairly lengthy roadmaps and long delivery time lines because of the numerous product versions in use and the multiple platform and database options they need to support. Even when a new feature (such as REST support) is available it may not be possible to make the best use of it without a costly upgrade or patching exercise.
4) Continuing High Costs: Alongside licencing the software, maintaining and patching the hardware there are long implementation times requiring expensive expert resources and inevitable upgrade costs to take into account. This model is not as supportable in a market where you can buy enterprise grade SaaS with a credit card and an email account as it once was.
In order to stay competitive and immediately respond to business challenges within a Hybrid landscape the enterprise can’t solely rely on ESB given these limitations. However, we can’t ignore the investment made by companies in their ESB landscapes and the value they continue to deliver, so while not yet obsolete, they may not provide the best way forward when you are looking to integrate your hybrid landscape.