What is Cloud Integration and iPaaS? A Quick Guide | #cloudsecurity


The demands of the market are simple: today’s enterprises must be able to quickly integrate data flows in any environment: on-premises, in private and public clouds, and at the edge.

However, organizations can have anywhere between a hundred and a few thousand discrete applications in their tech stack. Ensuring all of these various systems can “talk” to one another is paramount but, amidst growing systems complexity, increasingly difficult. 

Cloud integration is the act of combining different cloud-based systems into a single, ubiquitous environment. By connecting the disparate cloud and on-premises resources, organizations can more easily access and manage applications, data, services and systems. The ultimate goal?  Enhance collaboration between knowledge workers by enabling the sharing of data and analytics tools across the enterprise.

Traditionally, enterprises relied on a combination of custom programming, middleware and enterprise application integration (EAI) implementations to integrate business processes systems. Unfortunately, not only were these approaches costly and time consuming to create, they did not foster true enterprise data integration and democratization. As such, organizations are turning towards cloud integration platform as a service (iPaaS) as a solution to these challenges. 

 

Integration platform as a service (iPaaS) are a suite of cloud-based services that link together disparate applications, workflows and systems enabling reliable, secure data exchange between them. In other words, iPaaS acts as a hub, connecting multiple applications with their data and linking them all together. It also goes beyond standard API integration by enabling data set processing, event processing and reliable data distribution in different forms and latencies, amongst many other things. 

A low code solution, iPaaS simplify cloud integration by equipping users with a centralized console where even non-IT users can develop, execute and govern integration flows. One of the perks of iPaas is that they provide a comprehensive catalogue or “marketplace” of pre-built, ready-to-use connectors, internal system components that provide codeless connection to and from touchpoint systems. The user simply selects what they want to connect or integrate via a user-friendly, drag & drop interface and the solution provider takes care of the rest. 

There is no single way in which iPaaS solutions work. Different applications require different integration technologies and approaches. However, very broadly speaking, all iPaaS systems include “an engine that knows how to move and transform data between endpoints and a set of connectors that know how to move data in and out of those endpoints.”

As Fred Churchville, Site Editor, TechTarget puts it,

“It may help to think of an iPaaS provider as a contractor who is hired to manage and assist with a kitchen renovation. While the homeowner picks out the specific appliances, flooring, lighting or any other custom design choices they want and can afford, the contractor takes charge of underlying requirements — such as acquiring materials or coordinating with specialists such as electricians and carpenters.The same can be said with iPaaS: The vendor handles management and governance of the varied services, while the business pursues and requests support for custom application features and software functionality.” 

*Image sourced from “What is iPaaS?” by Tibco; https://www.tibco.com/reference-center/what-is-ipaas

 

Though one could build one’s own iPaaS, doing so is exceedingly rare. The vast majority of organizations license iPaaS from their cloud provider or other external party. 

As enterprise IT environments grow increasingly complex while the need for seamless, high velocity data exchange grows, iPaaS has become a fundamental component of modern digital infrastructure. Though one could build one’s own iPaaS, doing so is exceedingly rare. The vast majority of organizations license iPaaS from their cloud provider or other external party. 

In fact, these solutions are already widely implemented. According to our very own research, 58% of global organizations have already invested in iPaas with an additional 16% looking to adopt in the near future. 

Some industry experts also see iPaaS as a potential platform for the buying, selling, and exchange of integration flows (both out-of-the-box and custom-built patterns) between users, service providers, and integration providers.

 


Reduced Integration Costs

iPaaS are low-code or no code solutions. As a result, they are typically much less expensive and time consuming to implement compared to custom integrations, message-oriented middleware, and enterprise integration projects such as enterprise service bus (ESB) and enterprise application integration (EAI). This is because, unlike these other approaches, iPaaS eliminates the need for specially trained developers, hardware or even software. With minimal training, “citizen developers” can visually map out integration and employ prebuilt connectors using a drop & drag interface. 

In addition, the SaaS model allows for monthly or yearly subscriptions which can be more cost-effective than alternative models. 

 

Improved Scalability

On average, large organizations manage over 788 custom business applications at any given time. Monitoring and synchronizing all of the applications is near impossible without an iPaaS. 

iPaaS solutions centralize and standardize integrations so that all new integrations occur in the same place in the same way. This, first of all, enables centralized governance, where you can track API development, integration health, data flow, and data access across the enterprise from a singular platform. Secondly, it makes it much easier to connect new services and applications (or disconnect them).

 

Real-time, high-volume connections and near real-time processing

IPaaS is often seen as the successor or “next-generation” of ETL tools. While most ETL solutions rely on batch processing, iPaaS processes and integrates data in real time. In addition, iPaaS can integrate both data and systems from multiple sources (e.g., internal, customer, supplier, partner). On the other hand, ETL is really only intended to integrate internal, on-premises data flows. 

 

Accelerates Automation

Increasingly, iPaaS solutions are able to orchestrate workflows and bots. This enables organizations to not only quickly and easily automate end-to-end processes, but develop “smart” digital processes. 

 

Improved Data Security

iPaaS solutions include more advanced security and governance features than traditional integration solutions. For example, a modern iPaaS typically includes: 

  • Advanced API logging capabilities, eliminating the need to publish customer APIs or combine APIs from other services
  • Features that satisfy corporate and regulatory compliance standards (i.e. GDPR, HIPAA, CCPA, SOC2, etc.)
  • Advanced access controls
  • Centralized fraud detection, easy audits, and real-time threat visualization capabilities

 

Enables IoT

An iPaaS can also help integrate unstructured data, such as the data pulled from devices and sensors, into enterprise systems. This capability has the potential to unlock incredible amounts of innovation such as predictive maintenance, industry 4.0 and smart supply chains. 

 

 

Leveraging the power of the cloud, Boomi’s single instance multi-tenant platform provides all the benefits of the cloud, including flexibility, agility, design patterns, scalability, high availability, built-in redundancy, and automatic upgrades. Eliminate massive capital costs and the complexities of maintaining software on-premises, and ensure all customers automatically benefit from the latest features and functionality.

  • Gartner has named Boomi a leader in the Enterprise iPaaS category for eight consecutive years.
  • A cloud-native platform with distributed architecture
  • Can be deployed on private, public, and on-premise systems or in Boomi’s Atom Cloud
  • You can read user reviews here

 

 

Oracle Integration offers a combination of prebuilt connectivity to SaaS and on-premises applications, run-ready process automation templates, and an intuitive visual application builder for web and mobile application development.

  • Well equipped to manage enterprise landscapes with a high level of digital maturity and possible fragmentation
  • Performs well in heavily regulated, complex environments that require extra layers of security
  • You can read user reviews here

 

 

Workato is the leading Enterprise Automation Platform. Workato enables both business and IT teams to integrate their apps and automate business workflows without compromising security and governance. It enables companies to drive real time outcomes from business events. There is no coding required, and the platform utilizes Machine Learning and patented technology to make the creation and implementation of automations 10X faster than traditional platforms.

  • Suitable for small to mid-sized businesses 
  • Offers low code and GUI-based robotic process automation (RPA) 
  • Customer reviews of mention top-notch helpdesk and customer experience
  • You can read user reviews here

 

 

 

Operating with the speed, agility, and innovation of a digital business requires you to integrate applications and data quickly. The TIBCO Cloud™ Integration enterprise integration platform-as-a-service (iPaaS) accelerates the integration process. Using any integration style, it empowers your people to quickly and easily connect their information assets no matter where they are. Connect cloud apps and hybrid integration flows across on-premises and cloud environments, develop cloud-native apps using microservices, and process IoT data on edge devices.

  • Suitable for large-to-enterprise businesses that need extensive custom integrations
  • Flexible deployment on-premise, on Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Azure, within container-based platforms, and edge devices
  • Allows users to embed ML and AI models into APIs and apps 
  • You can read user reviews here

 

 

 

Design and build APIs and integrations at lightning speed. Use reusable assets to build APIs and integrations with clicks or code — whether it is through a web interface or desktop IDE. Transform data automatically, test your APIs and integrations, and plug your enterprise integrations into CI/CD pipelines with built-in support for Maven and Jenkins.

  • Used by tech giants like Netflix and Airbnb
  • Offers the CloudHub platform as a service (PaaS), a fully managed multi-tenant and elastic hosting environment for your integration landscape
  • Acquired by SalesForce in 2018 but still an independent iPaaS solution
  • You can read user reviews here 

 

 

Want to learn more about cloud integration and iPaaS?

 





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