When moving to the cloud, organizations have a host of options and most often choose multiple IaaS, PaaS and SaaS services to address latent business needs. However, when it comes to deploying cloud based applications, one of the most pressing challenge organizations are faced with is integration:
1. How do I integrate cloud based applications with my existing on-premise applications and data stores?
2. How do I integrate the various independently designed cloud applications with one another?
3. How do I make my applications securely accessible or connect my applications with those of my partners’ (again, both on premise and in the cloud)?
One of the biggest hurdles to cloud deployment and resultant implementation delays is indeed integration – integration to existing on-premise applications as well as data sources that sit behind a firewall. And hence, to avoid creating cloud silos and to fully realize the value of cloud computing, organizations need to have a comprehensive integration strategy in place right at the onset.
One option is to write custom point-to-point code for every piece of integration. However, this can prove costly and un-manageable (especially given the number of integration points and frequent automatic upgrades that cloud services promise). The other, more viable option is to have an integration strategy that includes an iPaaS. An iPaaS (or Integration Platform as a Service) suite provides organizations with a comprehensive integration and governance platform to make independently designed applications and services work together. It contains is a set of cloud based services, provided via a multitenant and scalable platform (in the cloud), that supports the quick, easy and secure integration of cloud to on-premise, cloud to cloud as well as on-premise to on-premise applications (internal and external to the organization).
So how can you leverage iPaaS to make cloud integration happen?
Here’s a five-step high level approach to effectively deploy cloud-based enterprise app integration:
1. Understand your application portfolio – (Yes, its fundamental) Map out the entire landscape; on-premise and in the cloud. Also include planned and future builds.
2. Identify the integration needs – Map out what applications need to access what data and which applications need to talk to one another. Develop a business case (reduced costs, improved efficiency and the works)
3. Craft an enterprise integration and governance strategy – This should encompass cloud to on-premise, cloud to cloud as well as on-premise to on-premise integration needs as well as address privacy, security and any downtime issues.
4. Analyze and select the right iPaaS Suite – Evaluate vendor offerings against multiple parameters (including underlying technology, comprehensiveness, risk, pricing model, etc) and choose one based on your integration needs. A point to note: The iPaaS market is still emerging (and will continue to mature, as cloud based applications evolve and stabalize).
Gartner’s iPaas report is a good starting reference point.
5. Deploy and Evaluate – Preferably deploy in a phased approach (low-hanging fruits first, business-critical apps next) and evaluate each iteration. Watch the next post for details on this point.
Now, are you ready to overcome the integration hurdle and maximize the value of your cloud deployments?