Reliable Integration is Key to Cloud Value
Ryan Boyles 100000UX41 firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  cast-iron amywohl cloud middleware private-clouds integration
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Today many companies are using clouds, both public and private as an extension to their data center. The value proposition is simple: clouds offer faster time to value, more flexibility, and possibly lower costs – a very attractive combination. Moreover, solid integration tools let the business combine their data and software assets in the data center with those of applications (and compute power) in the cloud. But this integration must be seamless, easy to use, and very reliable for businesses to depend on it as an extension of their data center.
Once a company uses cloud computing, one of their first questions will be, “How can I tie things together?” The short answer is Hybrid Clouds but how that might be accomplished, and exactly what each organization wants to seamlessly connect, leads to many answers.
Many companies have in mind something simple, like connecting a custom application in the enterprise data center to a SaaS application running in a Public Cloud. Other organizations have something much more complicated in mind, connecting multiple public applications to both packaged and custom applications and data residing in their data center. Perhaps they intend to connect the data center and both private and public clouds. The more connections, the more complexity.
IBM believes it is possible to make it easy to connect and integrate services and resources across, within and between clouds and enterprises. This might be done through “connectivity clouds.” The idea is to enable enterprises to be part of an ecosystem of service providers and consumers “in the cloud.” It’s important that connectivity resources be elastic and scalable, based on usage and demand.
A combination of IBM middleware products/services provides the glue, including WebSphere’s Cast Iron product line. This can support a variety of scenarios, from the initial migration of data into a SaaS application, to synchronizing SaaS and on-premise applications, to rendering data from one application to another SaaS application in real time.
An important issue should be time – how long it takes to get the integration up and running. IBM customers have been pleased to discover that integrating two or more applications, both cloud-based and from the data center, can be done in 21 days or less. This is much faster and more scalable than writing custom code and is done with the use of pre-configured templates to support integration processes.
These integration technologies can also be used to monitor resources in the public cloud and to integrate SOA middleware solutions. For example, the customer’s ESB can be moved into the cloud or management and deployment into the cloud can be done with a specialized appliance. Complex systems connecting the enterprise to a cloud of integration services to the customer community and its support are also possible.
In future blogs, I’ll be discussing some of the concepts and tools that make reliable integration work. Comment to this blog if you have subjects you’d like to see covered or questions you’d like to ask.