WebSphere, Cast Iron and Sterling: Routes to Integration
Ryan Boyles 100000UX41 firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  cloud websphere integration amywohl soa sterling processes cast-iron b2b
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In the modern business world, business partners can no longer wait to exchange paper documents, much less re-enter their content into their IT systems. Rather, they need systems that allow them to move information seamlessly across the wire, exchanging information in real time.
In B2B situations, there is an increasing need to use integration to exchange trading documents, enabling business processes that move across company boundaries. Enterprises require this be done in a reliable and highly secure environment. This is happening regardless of whether clouds are involved, but clouds may make it happen more quickly.
IBM acquisitions Sterling Commerce and Cast Iron can provide these integrations in any environment. Sterling has hundreds of thousands of global trading entities in the cloud and documents can be transformed into any required format. Cast Iron can offer integration implementations with an on premise appliance, a virtual instance, or cloud service and can allow data to be fully integrated with back-end systems. Recently, IBM announced support for Hybrid Cloud environments, based on Cast Iron, which allows hybrid cloud environments to be securely managed.
The challenge is to provide ease of integration across a B2B trading community located in the cloud. Sterling evolved from EDI – in the sense that the same customers that previously exchanged documents can now take an easier route and automate complete B2B processes, using superior integration in the cloud.. Another challenge is that not only IT professionals consume these applications today; business users and customers may also play a role. Data integrity is all-important. The goal is to enter data once and avoid manual processes which are more error-prone and prevent getting to a real time system. Sterling offers visibility to the B2B supply chain; Cast Iron offers visibility to the internal processes.
These are complex systems. The cloud doesn’t necessarily make things less complex but it may make it faster to integrate and deploy. The cloud offers you a better total ROI, faster deployment, and better management of data and processes. It isn’t necessarily less complex or cheaper. Since you’re trying to interconnect everything, including external resources, it may be more complex, even as it becomes more valuable.
In this environment, security is based on making good choices of products and vendors. IBM has the best complete solution, especially if you’re going to connect external resources, using Cast Iron. The focus is on secure integration based on tried and true technologies from a company known for its successful emphasis on security.
There are other considerations such as using SOA to create the services which you will use to build solutions; governance will insure that all the pieces are in place and that they’re working. SOA is not the cloud nor does the cloud replace SOA. They work together to create a modern, service-based, highly flexible environment.
What are your thoughts on integration? Where are your biggest challenges and where do you have opportunities for agile integration?