How to integrate applications effectively in the cloud?

In today’s business scenario, where enterprises have to access and manage voluminous amount of data from different data sources such as cloud, SaaS, social networks, web data sources and so on, effective application integration is necessary to ensure seamless flow of information. Application integration also known as enterprise application integration or EAI entails integrating different applications within an organization in order to make sure that there is an unhindered flow of data and seamless integration of business processes. Application integration is done to simplify business processes by automating the entire process but without extensive changes either to the application or data structures.

Traditional Approach

Application integration is a complex process involving integration of multiple applications running on multiple systems. And these systems could be in multiple locations and could be using multiple files and databases. The challenge is to effectively connect multiple applications to ensure uninterrupted data flow. Traditionally, integration was done through middleware, which was either bought from a vendor or code written on a custom basis. However, this approach had its own share of shortcomings, which made it expensive.

Application Integration and Cloud Computing

The advent of cloud computing brought a new ray of hope for enterprises upset with the pain points of the traditional approach. Today more and more enterprises are taking application integration into the cloud.

Challenge of Application Integration in the Cloud

What is different about cloud integration is that it provides a new way for delivering integration. However, the main issue of proliferation of business data, which the traditional solutions are unable to manage, remains unresolved. Though we have made great advancement in certain respects, the dependence on hand coded and point-to-point solutions is the greatest drawback of application integration. As far as programming languages are concerned there are several easy to use languages like Perl, Python, PHP, Ruby available, however these don’t make integration easier in any way. This is because the hand coded solutions are fragile, not reusable, hard to maintain and not easily extensible as requirements change. The greatest disadvantage of hand-coded solutions is the cost of development and the much greater cost of maintenance. Hence, what is required is a better solution that is capable of handling the data deluge and the diverse data sources.

Solution to Cloud Application Integration Challenge

The solution to this challenge of cloud integrationis a new approach or business model that can provide a simple, consistent, easy to use, reusable, and infinitely extensible option to facilitate easier integration between applications. The availability of new integration softwarein the market has made things easier for enterprises as it manages integration needs of all kinds. What is remarkable about this platform is that it eliminates hand-coded solutions and in its place brings custom-made data packets that can integrate any kind of applications. Moreover, these data packets can read, write, and transform from any location, allowing databases, files, web, and SaaS data to be shared and utilized by applications as needed. What is unique about these data packets is that some of these are available for free.

Today integration solutions are not confined to traditional Extract, Transform, Load (ETL), Enterprise Application Integration (EAI), or Enterprise Information Integration (EII) alone. The data needs to be integrated with various end points such as files, spreadsheets, reports, public websites, cloud-based SaaS applications, web services, social media, and others. In such a scenario, the availability of this modern technology is a relief for all enterprises tired of facing the various integration issues.

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