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Ross founded the open source Mule® project in 2003. Frustrated by integration "donkey work," he set out to create a new platform that emphasized ease of development and re-use of components. He started the Mule project to bring a modern approach, one of assembly, rather than repetitive coding, to developers worldwide. He is now the Founder and CTO of Mulesoft. Ross is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 94 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

Choosing a Cloud Integration Solution

02.10.2014
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What to Consider

A little overview

Top business drivers across organizations manage IT projects that include SaaS to SaaS and SaaS to on-premises integration requirements. In the past, many of these businesses were able to overcome their integration challenges by implementing custom point-to-point integration. Now however, with more and more applications and data being run and managed in the cloud, point-to-point integration can’t keep up with business demands.

Selecting an integration technology to replace point-to-point integration, whether it be a tool or a complete platform, plays a critical role in the success of your business. Businesses should carefully consider a solution to solve SaaS and SOA IT projects, making sure all integration needs are met.

Numerous integration tools and solutions exist to help with integration, some simple data integration tools, others comprehensive platforms. Simple integration tools may help create simple point to-point connectivity when needed but other end to end integration solutions future proof businesses, adjusting to changing business needs and keeping them connected for the long run.

Businesses are built differently

Knowing what solution works best for your business can be difficult, but evaluating key qualities can help when deciding which solution is good for business now, and in the future. Just because a data integration tool solves your business needs now, doesn’t mean it will be able to take on more complex integration challenges in the future. Moreover, building out point to point integrations to solve integration needs may work well initially, but can be disastrous as a company grows and implements a multitude of new applications, systems, and services on-premises and in the cloud. As the enterprise changes and adopts more cloud based services, having an integration solution that fits your specific business needs now, and can adjust to changing business needs is crucial.

Introducing

An integration platform as a service (iPaaS) is an integration platform for connecting applications and services in the cloud as well as on premises. An iPaaS enables users to create connectivity by developing, deploying, managing, and maintaining integrations and supports numerous connectivity protocols such as SOAP, REST, FTP, and more.

iPaaS solutions have evolved to support integration needs of businesses of all sizes, replacing both traditional middleware solutions as well as simple point to point tools. There are a number of things to consider when evaluating such an integration solution:

  • How “cloudy” is it?
  • What features are key?
  • How well does it serve my business needs?
  • Is the vendor innovative?
  • Is it an end-to-end solution?
  • What is the pricing model?

How “cloudy” is it?

  • Implementing a cloud-based integration solution is vital for growing companies. As the enterprise landscape evolves, more and more businesses are deploying best of breed SaaS applications, systems, and services. These components need to be able to not only connect with one another in the cloud, they must be able to easily connect with legacy systems on-premises. Deploying integrations both on premises and in the cloud should be an option, regardless of the build.

What features are key?

  • In order to be successful with integration, your business needs control. Out of the box connectivity, an easy to use graphical design interface, high availability, security and support are all key features to consider when choosing an integration platform.

How well does it serve my business needs?

  • A solution may meet current business needs, but more importantly, it should be able to adapt to changing business needs. Your business may not be entirely in the cloud today, but circumstances change in the future, a solution to be there to help make the shift seamlessly is important.

Is the vendor innovative?

  • Just as important as the solution itself, is where the solution comes from. Investing in a vendor that understands the market, is a leader in the space, and strives on innovation can help assure that the company you’re investing in has a vision for future growth. Moreover, how well does the solution execute on their promise?

Is it an end to end solution?

  • Integration shouldn’t be difficult. The solution you choose should be simplified, streamlined and unified, making it easy for your business to create connectivity. Moreover, it should offer a complete solution that helps develop, deploy, manage, and monitor integration flows. It is also important to consider whether or not the solution has a complete vision in place or if there are holes in the offering.

What is the pricing model?

  • Gone are the days of high upfront costs, long term commitments, and heavyweight solutions. Subscription based pricing models make it easy to pay for only what you need and a lightweight solutions ensure you’re up and running quickly.

Most importantly, finding a solution that is capable of delivering a solid solution can aid in the success of your projects and business has a whole. Consider how well the solution executes on the promise of connecting the enterprise, how well it scales, and how well it fulfills your integration needs.

All integration solutions, like businesses, are built differently. Finding the right fit can be difficult, but with the right one, your business is set to succeed. Learn about CloudHub, MuleSoft’s enterprise-class iPaaS that helps securely connect SaaS on premises and in the cloud.

Don’t forget to follow @MuleSoft to stay up-to-date on all things integration!

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Published at DZone with permission of Ross Mason, author and DZone MVB. (source)

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