What Austin Powers taught me about IT Integration

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(This post is part of a series on IT integration. Read the first article on the urgent need for hybrid integration)

Remember when Austin Powers was defrosted back in 1997? He was a man caught between eras — living life in the style of the swinging 60’s but caught in a world that had changed.

Vanessa Kensington: Mr. Powers, my job is to acclimatize you to the nineties. You know, a lot’s changed since 1967.

Austin Powers: No doubt, love, but as long as people are still having promiscuous sex with many anonymous partners without protection while at the same time experimenting with mind-expanding drugs in a consequence-free environment, I’ll be sound as a pound!

The underlying theme of the movie was Austin’s struggle between his conditioning to the freedom of the 60’s while being forced to live with the responsibility of the 90’s.

In many ways, IT professionals face the same struggle in reverse. Traditionally, IT has been centrally controlled with a dedicated set of resources ensuring that everything was done properly, securely. But the rise of cloud changed that. Now, people across the organization have the freedom to identify a business need and quickly stand up a solution in the cloud, regardless of the long-term impacts. The results have been a little…evil.

The rise of cloud has been swift, but not complete. With IDC’s worldwide 2017 CloudView Survey finding that “nearly 54% of respondents have adopted SaaS for at least one application, and an additional 17% of respondents are planning to adopt SaaS within 12 months,” most organizations run some percentage of their applications on cloud and some percentage on-premises. They have become companies caught between eras.

Like Austin Powers, you need to adapt. You need to consider how you bridge between the freedom of cloud and the responsibility of on-premises applications.

We recently asked our friends at IDC to lend their brain power to the issue of integrating on-premises and cloud environments, and they found that organizations need to consider changing their approach. This is what they determined:

  • Using ETL or FTP to synchronize application data is not secure enough between a data center and the cloud application, and cloud-optimized data integration software is required.
  • Communication shifts from a high-speed LAN to slower broadband connections, creating higher integration latency. This may require a rework of services interfaces to narrow their scope while making them more lightweight to make them faster.
  • There is the potential of lower reliability between the data center and the SaaS application, which means there may be a need for reliable messaging and improved error handling.
  • Web services interacting with the legacy application may need to be extended to include REST APIs to support formats required by SaaS applications.
  • The integration bus will not be capable of mediating cloud-originating web services requests without use of gateway software or some type of trusted agent.
  • There may be a need to integrate assets in the cloud, which means the integration capabilities must be extended to support every workload in every cloud, impacting the new major application and relevant business processes.
  • There may be a decision to co-locate supporting applications by hosting them in the same cloud as the SaaS application. This may remove latency and reliability concerns, but there is still a need for integration. This means there is a need to adopt new integration software.
  • Data associated with the cloud application may need to be replicated to a cloud or on-premises data repository for reporting and analytics, which may require cloud-resident data integration and movement technologies.

Integrating your on-premises applications with your cloud applications allows you to put your enterprise data to work in new ways. It provides you the best of both worlds. As Austin said, “Right now we have freedom and responsibility. It’s a very groovy time.”

If you want to learn more about cloud and on-premises integration, download the IDC ReportThe Urgent Need for Hybrid Integration or go to the IBM Integration website to learn more about the IBM view on hybrid cloud integration.

Yeah, baby!

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