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Integration and cloud: A new chapter in a long story

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integration and cloud 2Sometimes a whole new way of doing things comes along and changes your world. At IBM Pulse 2014 and dev@pulse, Jerry Cuomo showed how IBM is solving the new challenges to integration posed by the adoption of cloud architectures.

Integration: Always the same, always changing

I’ve been working on integration for a while now. The most basic description of integration remains the same: enable integration between disparate systems and allow them to be composed into more valuable units. However, the context for this apparently simple task just won’t stay still. The human race keeps on inventing new ways of making systems communicate and new ways of consuming that communication. Mobile technology and the Internet of Things are just the most recent examples.

Cloud architectures move the goalposts

Then cloud computing arrives. It scatters the scope for where those systems are (they will include both your on-premises systems of record and your applications running on hosted cloud infrastructure) and how you communicate with them (I’m absolutely certain that you’re going to want to secure access between your systems running in the public cloud and your on-premises systems).

The state of the art

integration and cloudJerry Cuomo (whose boundless energy is something to be seen) outlined how IBM WebSphere Cast Iron Cloud integration products make that really easy to do today. Cast Iron has a large catalog of integration accelerators called Template Integration Projects (TIPs) that take a specific high-value integration and provide an integration that can simply be configured—no programming required.

…and beyond

Of course, Jerry didn’t leave it with what IBM can do today, but went on to paint a vision for the future that brings together threads from IBM’s existing connectivity and integration portfolio and looks to unify them into a compelling cloud integration capability. Here are the some of the key pieces of the story:

API exposition. Supported today by the IBM API Management solution, this makes it simple to secure and share your API from within the enterprise out to the cloud

App integration. Let’s say you’re using an application running on Codename: BlueMix as your intermediary accessing each of the parts. Cast Iron provides dedicated API support for major software as a service (SaaS) offerings to simplify the creation of your intermediary, and secure connectors to access systems of record from the cloud.

Data cloud. This lets you leave your important system of record data where it is but move just that part needed for the integration to where it needs to be

Infrastructure integration. This ensures that core operational requirements like single sign-on and built-in monitoring are there for any integration

Thinking about integration in the cloud? Bring it

Every enterprise needs integration today, and every wise enterprise is probably looking hard at how to exploit cloud technology, so I’ll promise to keep posting on the state of the art, and keep you updated as IBM moves forward in this area. For up to the minute status, follow me on Twitter (@robphippen) and let me know your thoughts on this—we need to hear from you.


Check out more coverage from IBM Pulse 2014Frank Bauerle: Does cloud computing drive business agility?

Allan Tate: Three ways IBM Pulse 2014 exemplifies our times

Rob Phippen: Integration and cloud: A new chapter in a long story

Sarit Sotangkur: Five key takeaways for developers

Rakesh Ranjan: The data scientist’s guide to BlueMix

Angel Luis Diaz: IBM to sponsor Cloud Foundry Foundation

Michael J. Fork: IBM leads with Codename: BlueMix

Steve Strutt: Standing room only at Open Cloud Summit

Ron Kline: Hybrid cloud is here (and its future is dynamic)

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