The need to easily integrate and orchestrate increasingly diverse IoT devices, mobile devices and cloud-based applications and microservices is driving the adoption of cloud-native iPaaS (integration platform as a service) offerings at a breakneck pace.
The market is rife with iPaaS offerings such as Dell Boomi, IBM App Connect, Informatica Cloud, Mulesoft Anypoint Platform and SnapLogic. Your favorite industry analysts are defining, labeling, and segmenting the iPaaS market into a variety of categories, including domain-specific iPaaS, enterprise iPaaS, strategic iPaaS, advanced event brokers, and hybrid integration platforms.
It’s a lot to take in, so we wanted to summarize three things you need to consider when choosing an iPaaS solution based on conversations we’ve been having with our customers and partners. Understanding these key considerations will make it easier to figure out how to best incorporate iPaaS into your enterprise.
The three things to consider when choosing an iPaaS Solution:
1. iPaaS has three main tenets
While iPaaS is generally a nascent technology, it represents the union of long-established integration practices and the proven principles of other “as a service” disciplines such as SaaS, IaaS and PaaS.
- Core Integration Functionality: The functionality that iPaaS solutions must and do provide is clear and straightforward: connectivity, routing and transformation of events/information/messages, and orchestration of processes.
- Democratization of Integration: One of the key aspects of iPaaS is making it easy for so-called “citizen integrators” to define and manage the integration and orchestration of applications and devices with graphical, model-driven, low or no code development tools.
- Open and Pre-packaged: Another key tenet of iPaaS offerings is that they make it easy to integrate a wide range of assets with support for open APIs and protocols, adapters for a wide range of technologies, and pre-packaged integration flows that can be customized for your specific environment and purpose.
2. An iPaaS needs a messaging backbone to function effectively for enterprises
If an iPaaS offering is to unify integration, it must support the wide range of use cases that go into modern enterprise IT and digital transformation initiatives: artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, event processing and event streaming, IoT and more. Beyond the above-mentioned support for diverse APIs and protocols, a modern iPaaS offering should support:
- Message exchange patterns including pub/sub, request/reply, queuing, streaming, etc.
- Qualities of services such as guaranteed/persistent and best-effort/non-persistent delivery.
- Sophisticated routing rules for filtration, aggregation/fan-in, dissemination/fan-out, wildcards, etc.
Large enterprises with complex and distributed IT infrastructure wanting to upgrade from on-premises ESBs and underlying messaging/integration technologies must implement iPaaS in conjunction with a similarly cloud-native messaging solution.
3. Event-driven iPaaS is the future
In most iPaaS implementations, the majority of interactions between applications and services are REST-based request/reply interactions. While this works fine for relatively simple connections between small numbers of systems, the tight coupling and synchronous nature of REST-based communications is untenable for large, sophisticated enterprise deployments.
The limitations of building exclusively with REST are particularly apparent when you’re talking about the “digital transformation” use cases mentioned above, i.e., the integration of modern cloud-native applications and microservices that are many in number, globally-distributed, purpose-specific, and thus rely more completely on interactions with other assets than conventional on-premises applications.
To meet such needs, you need to pair your iPaaS with event brokering and event streaming technology that can efficiently route information and instructions between iPaaS-linked systems in a decoupled, asynchronous, event-driven manner.
It’s easy to get lost in the hype surrounding new tech and terms like iPaaS, but this is a big one, with the potential to reshape enterprise architecture more than most. Those who most quickly understand how and where they can use iPaaS to improve the agility and robustness of their infrastructure will have a decided advantage over their competitors. We hope this post has helped you glean some key insights that’ll help you along that road of choosing an iPaaS.