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.

Webinar: Introduction to iPaaS – Drivers, Requirements and Use Cases

Synerzip webinarIf you have heard the term “iPaaS” but still aren’t quite sure what it means, join us tomorrow, Wednesday, July 20th at 10am PST, for a webinar in partnership with Synerzip to hear more about this increasingly recognized term and why you might be ready to adopt an integration platform as a service (iPaaS) solution.

Continue reading “Webinar: Introduction to iPaaS – Drivers, Requirements and Use Cases”

The 3 A’s of Enterprise Integration

This post originally appeared on Data Informed.

binary-big-dateAs organizations look to increase their agility, IT and lines of business need to connect faster. Companies need to adopt cloud applications more quickly and they need to be able to access and analyze all their data, whether from a legacy data warehouse, a new SaaS application, or an unstructured data source such as social media. In short, a unified integration platform has become a critical requirement for most enterprises.

According to Gartner, “unnecessarily segregated application and data integration efforts lead to counterproductive practices and escalating deployment costs.”

Don’t let your organization get caught in that trap. Whether you are evaluating what you already have or shopping for something completely new, you should measure any platform by how well it address the “three A’s” of integration: Anything, Anytime, Anywhere. Continue reading “The 3 A’s of Enterprise Integration”

Collaborations in Building Hybrid Cloud Computing and Data Integrations

Post first published by Ravi Dharnikota on LinkedIn.

It’s one thing to create application and data integrations; it’s an even bigger challenge to collaborate with other teams in the enterprise to reuse and repurpose and standardize on what has already been built.

The need for seamless content collaboration is a key ingredient for overall success in app and data integrations, just as it is in app development and delivery. A platform that allows for easy sharing of information between employees is the different between a platform’s adoption throughout the enterprise or becoming shelf-ware. Continue reading “Collaborations in Building Hybrid Cloud Computing and Data Integrations”

Top SnapLogic Blogs Posts of 2015

Happy Holidays from the SnapLogic Team! It’s been quite a year in the world of hybrid cloud application and big data integration. As we prepare for what promises to be a very exciting 2016, I thought I’d share a summary of the top new posts on the SnapLogic blog this year. Thanks for reading. Stay tuned for our 2016 predictions. Continue reading “Top SnapLogic Blogs Posts of 2015”

Connect Faster: Modern Cloud and Big Data Integration Tools

Connect-Faster-Logo-2015According to our TechValidate survey in 2014, “speed and time to value are the primary business drivers for integration platform as a service (iPaaS).” That’s why our focus at SnapLogic is to ensure our customers “Connect Faster.” This means a unified and modern iPaaS that connects data, applications, APIs and Things faster. In recent conversations with SnapLogic customers, I’ve heard the following benefits of a faster cloud and big data integration platform:

  • “Using SnapLogic + AWS Redshift, we reduced our entire delivery system from manufacturing to customer – from 27 to 14 days.”
  • “We went from 60 integration use cases to 6 pipelines. Schema-less integration allowed us to run integrations with systems going through constant schema changes, without the integrations breaking.”
  • “We can do more in two hours with SnapLogic than we could in two days with traditional solutions.”
  • “Take an opportunity to understand SnapLogic’s core platform design. It will enable you to leverage the platform more fully. The fact that data coming onto the platform becomes a JSON document can dramatically change how you manage your integration project for the better.”
  • “In 1 year with an ESB, we only managed to get 5 processes running. In one SnapLogic training session, we were able to build 5 processes that were operational in 4 hours.”
  • “The chief hurdles are in people’s minds: it is not an ETL platform and not an ESB. People familiar with both need to rethink their approach.”

Here’s a summary of how SnapLogic Connect’s Faster:

Connect Data Faster
SnapLogic-Connect-Data

Just as Hadoop, Spark, NoSQL and the data lake are revolutionizing your enterprise data infrastructure, legacy extraction, transformation and loading (ETL) tools are being re-imagined for modern business analytics. Able to run as a native YARN application, SnapLogic respects data gravity and delivers powerful big data integration with SnapReduce, the Hadooplex and 300+ Snaps.

 

SnapLopgic-Connect-Cloud-AppsConnect Cloud Applications Faster

Get more value and a faster return on cloud applications like Salesforce, ServiceNow and Workday with low-latency Ultra Pipelines and a self-service design, administration and monitoring interface built for citizen integrators. SnapLogic goes beyond point-to-point integration tools with broad connectivity, orchestration, and a streaming data architecture that allow enterprise IT organizations to connect cloud applications faster.

SnapLogic_Connect-ThingsConnect Things Faster

With MQTT Snaps and support for other Internet of Things (IoT) protocols, SnapLogic customers can rapidly ingest messages directly into a Hadoop cluster. SnapReduce harnesses Hadoop’s scalable processing and generates complex MapReduce code behind the scenes so business analysts and data scientists can focus on what’s most important: gaining insight from their big data.

Next Steps:

Everything So Brittle: What ESB Middleware Means in 2015

intellyx_snaplogicThis week Jason Bloomberg, industry expert and author of the book, The Agile Architecture Revolution, delivered a great presentation called: It’s the 21st Century , Why Isn’t Your Data Integration Loosely Coupled? He reviews some of the challenges with traditional middleware connectors and tight coupling, where any change in the data format or interface requirements for either end of any interaction requires an update of the connector. The result is a very brittle integration environment with too many single points of failure. (See the iPaaS requirement for fluidity in hybrid deployments.)

Jason goes on to summarize the benefits of loose coupling and review the limitations of Web Services, XML Schemas and rigid, strongly typed data formats. The presentation reviews REST, JSON and what he calls the “schema-less data trap.” He concludes with the following data integration do’s and don’ts:

Do:

  • Plan ahead for horizontal scalability and fault tolerance (cloud friendliness)
  • Favor document-centric data formats

Don’t:

  • Use rigid, centralized middleware
  • Rely heavily on fixed schemas

Specifically on the topic of the enterprise service bus (ESB), Jason has this to say:

  • no-esbEssentially the ESB is traditional middleware with Web Services added
  • The ESB is typically an older, single-point-of failure, hub-based deployment
  • The ESB is not “cloud friendly” and not up to the task – not designed to be horizontally scalable and state information is maintained centrally

He has this to say about SnapLogic “design-time introspection” and our Snaps, which he calls, “next-generation connectors”:

  • They can gather the metadata automatically so that integration configuration can be performed dynamically
  • SnapLogic lets you automate the configuration of the integration so you have greater flexibility as you deal with changing interactions.

You can check out the entire presentation, which also includes a SnapLogic Elastic Integration Platform demonstration by Craig Stewart, here and I’ve embedded the slides below. Be sure to also check out Jason’s review of SnapLogic Snaps: Re-Inventing Intelligent Connectors and our whitepaper: Why Buses Don’t Fly in the Cloud.