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iPaaS: A Response to New Business and Technology Requirements

Users migrating data and applications to the cloud need richer cloud-based integration toolsets such as those in integration-platform-as-a-service (iPaaS).

Many user organizations have compelling reasons or executive mandates to update their data management. They need to move to the clouds, control IT costs, integrate disparate applications, and deliver data-driven solutions faster. Many must have an integration infrastructure for complex multiplatform data environments that span modern clouds and traditional on-premises systems.

Organizations facing any combination of these evolving business and technology requirements are realizing that their traditional on-premises integration solutions are not a good fit for fast-paced cloud operations or complex hybrid environments. Furthermore, users migrating data and applications to the cloud need richer cloud-based integration toolsets to handle the migration and support daily native-cloud integration flows.

The technology that has emerged to address today's requirements is integration-platform-as-a-service (iPaaS) -- a suite of cloud microservices enabling the development, execution, and governance of integration flows and data pipelines.

Data Management Requirements for iPaaS

In a nutshell, here are the essential requirements for iPaaS, plus some of its uses and benefits:

Powered by the cloud. iPaaS is cloud-based, to take advantage of cloud elasticity, scalability, flexibility, and low cost. Plus, iPaaS is cloud-based to interface directly with Internet-based applications (such as Salesforce, Marketo, and NetSuite) and data sources (Web apps, B2B partners, and the Internet of Things).

Fast track to integration solutions. iPaaS can accelerate application integration and data integration. For example, when a public cloud has multiple tools already set up and optimized for the cloud, it prevents users from burning up valuable time and personnel on system integration. This way, cloud-based systems require minimal time before business use. In many cases, users can set up interfaces, load data, migrate users, and put the solution into production in a few days.

All forms of integration. Vendor products for iPaaS vary, but the comprehensive ones support the many functions of both data integration and application integration. This is because -- in addition to data integration -- many users need a data-driven toolset for migrating and consolidating application data, plus managing data from software-as-a-service (SaaS) apps.

Multitool suite. iPaaS suites tend to include many integration tool types through a single console, including those for data integration, quality, and master data management (MDM) as well as application integration, orchestration, and process management. The unified toolset boosts developer productivity, consistent standards, and broad curation. Furthermore, it fosters the modern design of data flows and pipelines that incorporate multiple forms of integration functions.

Microservices. iPaaS functionality is available via cloud-based microservices. Almost any data or application integration function you can think of is now a service.

API-driven. To fulfill its aggressive integration goals, an iPaaS suite must support all modern and traditional application programming interfaces (APIs) and include special functionality for managing API portfolios and performance.

Built for hybrid environments. Despite the focus on the cloud, iPaaS also provides integration microservices that can be tapped by on-premises applications and tools. In fact, organizations with iPaaS typically use it as a nexus point that provides rich integration and interoperability for the many platforms of a hybrid data and application environment. After all, data travels into a hybrid environment, as well as among its constituent platforms and tools.

For Further Reading

To learn more, read TDWI's recent Checklist Report, Data Management Best Practices for Cloud and Hybrid Architectures or view the on-demand TDWI Webinar, Achieving Integration Agility, Scale, and Simplicity via Cloud-Based Integration Platform-as-a-Service.

About the Author

Philip Russom is director of TDWI Research for data management and oversees many of TDWI’s research-oriented publications, services, and events. He is a well-known figure in data warehousing and business intelligence, having published over 500 research reports, magazine articles, opinion columns, speeches, Webinars, and more. Before joining TDWI in 2005, Russom was an industry analyst covering BI at Forrester Research and Giga Information Group. He also ran his own business as an independent industry analyst and BI consultant and was a contributing editor with leading IT magazines. Before that, Russom worked in technical and marketing positions for various database vendors. You can reach him at prussom@tdwi.org, @prussom on Twitter, and on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/philiprussom.


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