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FAQs: Introduction to WebSphere Cast Iron

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If you decide on using a cloud service, you are deciding on using services instead of buying hardware and installing software. However, when it comes to integration of applications, many software vendors might offer you an integration platform that can do integration of your cloud applications with your on-premises enterprise applications, but what are they offering you? Software – that you need to install, maintain – and you need to supply hardware. But isn’t that what used to be some of the cost drivers you wanted to avoid?

Cast Iron also offers a possibility to install the integration platform on-premises. The general features of Cast Iron have been described by Megan Irvine in “Cloud integration with Cast Iron.” In this blog entry, I focus on the cloud form factor of WebSphere Cast Iron.

If you have several on-premises applications that need to be integrated, an on-premises integration platform might suit your needs; but if your focus (today and in future) is on cloud applications, a logical conclusion is to do your integration in the cloud too.

The service we are offering is called IBM WebSphere Cast Iron Live. Let me give you answers to frequently asked questions:

Q: How do you design integrations in the cloud?

A: You can start by using a template or start from scratch. Either way, an online development editor will start. This editor provides the same capabilities as Cast Iron Studio, but it is running in the cloud. Projects that have been developed with Cast Iron Studio can also be imported.

Q: How are separate staging environments managed in the cloud?

A: You can set up separate staging environments in your cloud environment. A web management console is provided for every stage. This approach enables dedicated user management, security profiles, and configuration for each stage.

Q: How secure is integration in the cloud?

A: The infrastructure on which WebSphere Cast Iron Live runs has been certified to be compliant with SAS-70 Type II according to the stringent audit requirements of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. This audit ensures the following aspects:

  • Physical infrastructure is equipped with security and access controls.
  • Network infrastructure is equipped with mitigation techniques for Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, prevention of unauthorized port-scans, IP spoofing, and more.
  • Redundancy is provided at several levels including network, power, and storage.

Further security information is available in the following IBM white paper: “WebSphere Cast Iron Live Security

Q: Can I connect on-premises applications, if my integration is running in the cloud?

A: Applications that are deployed on-premises can be integrated in a secure way by using WebSphere Cast Iron Secure Connector. The WebSphere Cast Iron Secure Connector is a light-weight piece of software that resides behind the firewall and connects databases, enterprise applications, and message queues behind the firewall in a secure manner with the cloud.

Q: Can I use WebSphere Cast Iron Live for business-critical functions?

A. We provide an uptime service level agreement (SLA) with our service. The SLA can be signed for 99.5 percent uptime of the web management console for each calendar month.

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