Summer Release 2017: Focus on operational efficiency and artificial intelligence

By Dinesh Chandrasekhar

SnapLogic Enterprise Integration Cloud’s Summer Release for 2017 (v4.10) is generally available for customers today. We are excited to share a lot of new features and enhancements that revolve around the themes of operational efficiency for digital transformation, continuing innovation in the use of Iris Artificial Intelligence, and added support for Cloud Data Warehouse and Big Data. While we stay focused on offering one of the finest and easiest user experiences in the iPaaS space, we wanted to extend that experience over to the operational side as well.

A few key highlights from this release that focus on improving operational efficiencies and the use of Artificial Intelligence:

  • AI-Powered Pipeline Optimization: SnapLogic’s Iris technology now evaluates pipeline configuration and operation to recommend specific performance improvements based on machine learning, delivered to users via dashboard alerts and notifications.
  • Local Snaplex Dashboard: Ultra Pipelines have been used by our customers in mission-critical use cases that warrant uninterrupted data flow across multiple data sources. Now, we have introduced a local dashboard that provides full visibility into Ultra Pipelines. This offers customers increased confidence that their high-priority projects are running automatically without any interruption.
  • API Threshold Notifications: On a similar vein around dashboards, we bring in some monitoring capabilities that focus on operations and project development. Real-time alerts and notifications provide customers with an early warning system to improve monitoring of complex integrations projects. Alerts can be set up to notify stakeholders when API limits are approached and exceeded when users are added or removed from the platform, and when projects are modified.
  • Project-level Migration: We’ve been listening to your requests! With the fast pace at which integration projects are being executed and delivered across the enterprise, it is pertinent that project lifecycles are not a bottleneck. We’ve introduced a new feature that automates the migration of projects across departments and organizations, eliminating hand-coding and hard-coding, resulting in seamless project migrations.
  • Public API for Groundplex Installation: A new API is now available to automate the installation and configuration of on-premises SnapLogic nodes, eliminating the time and effort to manually download and install additional nodes. 

A few key highlights from this release that focus on enhancing our already comprehensive integration capabilities into cloud data warehousing and big data:

  • Microsoft Azure SQL Snap Pack: A brand new Snap Pack that allows customers to quickly and easily migrate on-premises databases to Microsoft Azure SQL Database for fast cloud-based reporting and analytics.
  • Teradata Select Snap: Expands the Teradata Snap Pack, allowing users to retrieve data from a Teradata database to display on a table for easy reporting tasks.
  • Parquet Writer Snap: Allows users to store data in specific partitions in Hadoop HDFS, improving the ability to create reports and derive meaningful insights from big data.
  • Parquet Reader/Writer Snap: Allows users to write Parquet files to Amazon S3 and AWS Identity & Access Management in addition to HDFS, expanding SnapLogic’s support for cloud-based data warehousing via Redshift.

Watch the Summer 2017 Release webinar to learn all the features and enhancements across our Snaps, IoT, CRM, and more.

Dinesh Chandrasekhar is Director of Product Marketing at SnapLogic. Follow him on Twitter @AppInt4All.

Our live demo series is back

By Rich Dill

Due to popular demand, we’re bringing back a regular demo series where you get a first-hand look at SnapLogic’s Enterprise Integration Cloud in action, hear from a technology expert, and have your questions answered … live.

If you want to learn more about what SnapLogic can bring to your application and data integration plans, this demo is for you. Join me Wednesday, August 9 from 10:30AM – 11:00AM PT for the kick off of our Live Demo Series.

In this month’s demo, I will be highlighting the multiple reasons why the Enterprise Integration Cloud is the best option for quickly connecting and efficiently managing legacy and modern data, cloud application, and API integration needs.

I will be providing an overview of iPaaS and SnapLogic along with a detailed look inside the industry’s first AI-powered integration technology, Iris. I will also highlight how to connect an application to a database in minutes.

Each month we will be showcasing our leading industry integration cloud, so if you can’t attend this demo, we’ll have others for you to participate in with different themes each time.

Register now for the SnapLogic Live Demo Series

Rich Dill is Enterprise Solutions Architect at SnapLogic. You can follow him on Twitter @richdill.

 

 

“Hide the Tech” to Take Big Data Mainstream

Originally posted on InsideBigData.

By Ravi Dharnikota

Big data is a big deal – and a big opportunity. The challenge is that most big data progress has been limited to big companies with big engineering and data science teams. The systems can be complex, immature and hard to manage. That might be OK if you’re a well-trained developer in Silicon Valley, but it doesn’t play well if you’re a jack-of-all-trades IT leader at a bank in Atlanta or an on-the-move business leader in Amsterdam. How can you tap into big data if you don’t have an army of engineers who stay steeped in the latest tech?

Fortunately, help is on the way thanks to several trends that move tech from the foreground to the background.

First and foremost, big data is moving into the cloud. Amazon, Microsoft and Google now deliver Hadoop and Spark “as a service,” eliminating the need to spin up a cluster, research new software products or worry about version management. Companies are increasingly moving their big data workloads into the cloud, hiding complexity from their users while relying on the world’s best data center professionals to manage the tech. They want access to infrastructure when and how they want it, with just as much as they need but more.

Next up is the emergence of “serverless” computing. This builds on the cloud trend, while removing even more tech dependencies. Just load your data and start processing. Tell your cloud provider what you want to do, how much data you want to crunch and where you want to run it – and they will spin up the infrastructure when you need it, and spin it down when you don’t. That’s incredible for retailers and CPG companies, for example, who may have seasonal businesses and therefore fluctuating data needs throughout the year. They can do critical data analytics as needed without having to pay for robust infrastructure during the off-peak periods.

The third big trend is the move to self-service, fueled by new tools and platforms that democratize both data integration and data consumption. “Self-service integration” makes it fast and easy to connect systems, create data pipelines and automate processes without the need for intensive coding. Likewise, “self-service analytics” makes it easy for analysts and business users to manipulate data without IT intervention. On both fronts, self-service lowers the bar on tech skill requirements, opening the data door for millions of new users.

Last but certainly not least is machine learning and artificial intelligence, which are being used to embed more and more intelligence into applications. The systems simply learn from the data that flows through – and deliver predictive insights or recommend actions accordingly. For example, we can now offer “self-driving” integration that learns from millions of metadata elements and billions of data flows to give users expert step-by-step directions in building their data pipelines. That shortens the learning curve for business users and analysts while freeing tech teams for higher-value innovation and governance.

All four of these trends are powered by very advanced technologies, but what’s remarkable is how much they actually “hide” the tech to put more focus on the data and the business – exactly where the focus should be. It’s very similar to what we’re seeing with the incredibly intuitive consumer software that just works out of the box without a lot of training or manual intervention. Like those consumers, companies want to get more things done faster with convenience and fast access. They want cutting-edge capabilities, but they don’t want to deal with bugs and broken integrations and rapidly changing versions.

At the end of the day, most companies just want better data and faster answers – without the technology headaches. “I should just be able to write the query and get an answer back.” Thanks to the cloud, serverless computing, self-service platforms and self-learning technologies, we’re getting closer to that goal. While big data isn’t yet at the Google search or Alexa skill level of simplicity, we should all aspire to take it there.

Ravi Dharnikota is Chief Enterprise Architect at SnapLogic. Follow him on Twitter @rdharn1

The commoditization of integration

By Dinesh Chandrasekhar

Eight years ago, dozens of integration vendors were offering scores of solutions, all with what seemed to be the same capabilities. Pick any ESB or ETL tool and each seemed to perform the same functions as their competitors. RFPs were no longer a viable way to weed out the inferior vendors as each solution checked all the boxes across the board. Plus, all vendors were ready to lower their prices at the drop of a hat to win your business. It was at this time that the integration market had truly reached a level of commoditization. Consumers could easily pick and choose any solution as there were no true differentiators amongst them.

But, several factors have changed the landscape since then:

  • NoESB – The NoESB architecture had started gaining interest – pushing the idea of the irrelevancy of ESB for many integration scenarios. Yet, an API Gateway was not the right alternative.
  • Cloudification – The cloudification of pretty much all your favorite on-premises enterprise applications began around the same time. Enterprises that were thinking of a digital transformation couldn’t get too far without a definitive cloud strategy in place.
  • Convergence of ESB and ETL – The lines between application integration and data integration were blurring. CIOs and IT managers didn’t want to deal with two different sets of integration tools. With the onset of mobile and IoT, data volumes were exploding daily. As a result, even data warehouses moved to the cloud. To serve such big data needs, the traditional/legacy ESB/ETL tools were incompetent and unfit.
  • Agile Integrations – Finally, the DevOps and Agile movements impacted enterprise integration initiatives as well. They had given rise to new user personas in the enterprise – Citizen Integrators or Citizen Developers. These are the LOB Managers or non-IT personnel that needed quick integrations within their applications to render their data in different views. The reliance on IT to deliver solutions to business was becoming a major hindrance.

All these factors have influenced the iPaaS (Integration Platform as a Service) market. Now, thousands of companies are already leveraging iPaaS solutions to integrate their cloud and on-premises solutions. iPaaS solutions break away from legacy approaches to integration, are cloud-native, intuitive, fast, self-starting, support hybrid architectures, and offer connectors to a wide range of on-premises and on the cloud applications.

Now comes the big question – “Will iPaaS solutions be commoditized, too?” At the moment, the answer is a definite NO and there are multiple reasons why. Beyond scale, latency, tenancy, SLAs, number of connectors etc., one of the key areas that will differentiate iPaaS solutions is the developer experience. The user interface of the solution will determine the adoption rate and the value it brings to the enterprise. So, for a citizen integrator to actually use the system, the interface should be intuitive enough to guide them in building their integration flows quickly, effectively, and most importantly, without the assistance of IT. This alone will make or break the system adoption.

iPaaS vendors are trying to enhance this developer experience with features like drag-and-drop connectors, pipeline snippets, a templates library, a starter kit, mapping enhancements, etc. However, very few vendors are offering AI-driven tooling that enables intelligent ways to predict next steps – based on learnings from hundreds of other users – for your integration flow. AI-assist is truly a great benefit for citizen integrators, who may be non-technical. Even technically savvy developers welcome a significant boost in their productivity. With innovations like this happening, the iPaaS space is quite far away from being commoditized. However, enterprises still need to be wary of cloud-washing iPaaS vendors that offer “1000+” connectors, a thick-client IDE, or an ESB wrapped in a cloud blanket. And, that is a post for a different day!

Dinesh Chandrasekhar is Director of Product Marketing at SnapLogic. Follow him on Twitter @AppInt4All.

Mossberg out. Enterprise technology still in

By Gaurav Dhillon

A few weeks ago, the legendary tech journalist, Walt Mossberg, penned his last column. Although tech journalism today is vastly different than it was in 1991, when his first column appeared in the Wall Street Journal, or even five or 10 years ago, voices like Walt’s still matter. They matter because history matters – despite what I see as today’s widely held, yet unspoken belief that nothing much important existed prior to the invention of the iPhone.

Unpacking that further, history matters because the people who learn from it, and take their cues from it, are those who will drive the future.

Enterprise tech history is still unfolding

I like to think of myself as one of those people, certainly one who believes that all history is meaningful, including tech history. As tech journalism’s eminence grise, Walt not only chronicled the industry’s history, he also helped to define it. He was at the helm of a loose cadre of tech journalists and industry pundits, from Robert X. Cringely to Esther Dyson, who could make or break a company with just a few paragraphs.

Walt is now retiring. So what can we learn from him? The premise of his farewell column in Recode is that tech is disappearing, in a good way.”[Personal] tech was once always in your way. Soon, it will be almost invisible,” he wrote, and further, “The big software revolutions, like cloud computing, search engines, and social networks are also still growing and improving, but have become largely established.”

I’ll disagree with Walt on the second point. The cloud computing revolution, which is changing the way enterprises think and operate, is just beginning. We are at a juncture populated by unimaginably large quantities of data, coupled with an equally unquenchable thirst by enterprises to learn from it. The world has gone mad for artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics, every permutation of which is fueled by one thing: data.

The way we use data will become invisible

In his column, Walt observed that personal tech is now almost invisible. We use and benefit from it in an almost passive way. The way data scientists and business users consume data is anything but. Data is still moved around and manually integrated, on-premises and in the cloud, with processes that haven’t changed much since the 1970s. Think about it – the 1970s! It’s no secret that extract, transfer, and load (ETL) processes remain the bane of data consumers’ existence, largely because many enterprises are still using 25-year-old solutions to manage ETL and integrate data.

Cloud Computing

The good news is, data integration is becoming much easier to do, and is well on its way to becoming invisible. Enterprise integration cloud technology promises to replace slow and cumbersome scripting and manual data movement with fast, open, seamless data pipelines, optimized with AI techniques.

Remember how, as Internet use exploded in the late 1990s, the tech industry was abuzz with companies offering all manner of optimization technologies, like load balancing, data mirroring, and throughput optimization? These days you never hear about these companies anymore; we take high-performance internet service for granted, like the old-fashioned dial tone.

I am confident that we are embarking on a similar era for enterprise data integration, one in which modern, cloud-first technologies will make complex data integration processes increasingly invisible, seamlessly baked into the way data is stored and accessed.

Making history with data integration

I had the pleasure of meeting Walt some years ago at his office, a miniature museum with many of the personal tech industry’s greatest inventions on display. There, his love of tech was apparent and abundant. Apple IIe? Nokia Communicator 9000? Palm Treo and original iPod? Of course. If Walt were to be at his keyboard, in his office, for another couple of years, I’m pretty sure his collection would be joined by a technology with no physical form factor, but of even greater import: the enterprise cloud.

Hats off to you, Walt. And while you may have given your final sign-off, “Mossberg out,” enterprise tech is most definitely still in.

Follow me on Twitter @gdhillon.

Gaurav Dhillon is CEO of SnapLogic. You can follow him on Twitter @gdhillon.

Data management takes center stage at Rutberg 2017 conference

Each year, research-centric investment bank Rutberg & Company gathers top business leaders and technology experts for an intimate, two-day forum where they discuss and debate the technology, ideas, and trends driving global business. The annual Rutberg 2017 conference took place last week in Half Moon Bay, California, and data management was front and center.

SnapLogic CEO Gaurav Dhillon joined Mesosphere CEO Florian Leibert and Segment CEO Peter Reinhardt for a spirited panel discussion on the growing data management opportunities and challenges facing enterprises today. The panel was moderated by Fortune reporter Jonathan Vanian.

A number of important data management and integration trends emerged, including:

  • LOB’s influence grows: Gaurav noted that more and more, “innovation is coming from the LOB,” whether in Sales, Marketing, Finance, HR, or elsewhere in the organization. These LOB leaders are tech-savvy, are responsible for their own P&L’s, and they know speed and agility will determine tomorrow’s winners. So they’re constantly on the hunt for the latest tech solutions that will drive innovation, spur growth, and help them beat the competition.
  • Data fragmentation on the rise: With individual LOBs procuring a flurry of new cloud applications and technologies, the result is often business silos and a disconnected enterprise. “The average enterprise has 10x more SaaS apps than a CIO thinks,” said Gaurav of the increasing SaaS sprawl, which is requiring CIOs to think differently about how they integrate and manage disparate apps and data sources across the enterprise.
  • Self-service integration is here to stay: The bigger a company gets – with more apps, more end-points, more data-types, more fragmentation – there’s never going to be enough humans to manage the required integration in a timely manner, explained Gaurav. Enter new, modern, self-service integration platforms. “The holy grail of integration is self-service and ease-of-use … we have to bring integration out of the dungeon and into the light,” Gaurav continued. And this means getting integration into the hands of the LOB, and making it fast and easy. The days of command-and-control by IT are over: “Trying to put the genie back in the bottle is wrong; instead you need to give the LOBs a self-service capability to wire this up on their own,” noted Gaurav.
  • AI will be a game-changer: Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are already making apps, platforms, and people smarter. Like with Google auto-complete or shopping on Amazon, we’re already becoming accustomed to assistance from, and recommendations by, machines. “Software without AI will be like Microsoft Word or email without spell-check,” it will be jarring not to have it, said Gaurav. AI is already being applied to complex tasks like app and data integration; it’s not a future state, he said, the start of “self-driving integration is happening today.”
  • The enterprise is a retrofit job: For all the latest advances – new cloud apps, AI and ML technologies, self-service integration platforms – the enterprise remains a “retrofit job,” where the new must work with the old. Large, global enterprises aren’t about to throw out decades of technology investment all at once, particularly if it is working just fine or well-suited to handle certain business processes. So, new cloud technologies will need to work with older on-premise solutions, once again cementing integration platforms as a critical piece of an enterprise technology strategy. “It will be a hybrid world for a long, long time,” concluded Gaurav.

Without question, data has become any organization’s most valuable asset, and those that are able to integrate, manage, and analyze data effectively will be the winners of tomorrow.

SnapLogic recognized by Mogul as top workplace for millennial women

By Laura Selig

At SnapLogic, we know that a diverse workplace powers innovation and drives growth. Only by bringing in people with different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives can we truly build an innovative company for the ages.

So we were thrilled to learn that SnapLogic has been recognized as a top employer for millennial women by Mogul, a leading technology platform and recruiting site that enables professional women around the world to connect, share information and knowledge, and network. We’re proud to report that SnapLogic was ranked #21 on Mogul’s list of the Top 100 Companies For Millennial Women in 2017.

Based on two years of interviews, surveys, and research, Mogul set out to identify the top 100 companies worldwide that are actively leading initiatives to achieve gender equity in the workplace. Mogul notes, with millennials increasingly joining and impacting the workforce, these 100 companies “collectively have the opportunity to shape workplace innovation and accelerate cultural transformation.”

At SnapLogic, more than 30 percent of our global employees in engineering or technical roles are women – higher than the industry average – and we’re working hard to drive this number even higher by fostering a work environment that is focused on inclusiveness and continuous career development. Additionally, SnapLogic’s affinity group, Women@SnapLogic, provides an internal networking group for women to build community and discuss topics relevant to women in the workplace. Female engineers at SnapLogic are working on breakthrough projects in cloud computing, big data, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, and more, helping to drive our innovation agenda forward.

Are you passionate about technology and looking to put your skills and experience to work at a dynamic, innovative enterprise software upstart? Be sure to check out SnapLogic’s current job openings.

Laura Selig is Vice President, People at SnapLogic.