By: IBM Cloud Education

Learn how IPaaS (Integration-Platform-as-a-Service) can help you tackle the challenges of integrating your data and applications within a hybrid cloud, multicloud environment.

What is IPaaS (Integration-Platform-as-a-Service)?

IPaaS refers to a cloud-based environment for integrating applications. IPaaS allows organizations to connect applications, data, processes, and services across on-premise and cloud environments without having to buy, house, or manage the integration hardware, middleware, and software within their own data center.


Businesses face several integration challenges:

  • The increasing volume, variety, and sources of data
  • The demand for applications that leverage data in real time
  • The need to access data and services that live on-premises, in their clouds, and in multiple vendors’ clouds

IPaaS helps businesses address these issues in multiple ways.

Simplify integration

IPaaS solutions simplify the integration of all the pieces with a managed platform where, through a single interface, a user chooses the tools and services needed while the IPaaS vendor provides the management and governance.

Support multiple integration scenarios

IPaaS can support multiple integration scenarios, including cloud integration, application-to-application integration, business-to-business integration, mobile-app integration, API publishing, and Internet of Things (IoT)-integration.

Implement quickly

Because they are cloud-based, IPaaS solutions can be implemented quickly through automation and self-service, supporting the faster pace of DevOps and agile application development cycles. And, they offer the scalability required to handle dynamic data growth. 

Reduce costs

Finally, IPaaS solutions are typically less expensive than the licensing costs involved with message-oriented middleware, integration architectures, and other custom integrations like enterprise service bus (ESB) and enterprise application integration (EAI). The reduced cost and faster implementation make integration a possibility for more mid-sized and smaller businesses as well.

Watch this webinar to learn how hybrid integration platforms have evolved to support multicloud integration.


To enable the end-to-end integration of business services and data, regardless of where they reside, the architecture for an integration platform must provide the following:

  • API-driven integration between on-premise systems of record and cloud-based systems of engagement
  • Application-level integration between on-premise ERP applications and off-premise systems of engagement
  • Integration with legacy middleware, including two-way integration with existing MQ enterprise messaging backbone
  • Runtime monitoring and management
  • Ability to authenticate and control access for users based on existing on-premise user directories

An IPaaS solution meets these requirements while running in a multitenant architecture on the cloud, meaning the integration platform can serve multiple customers. Tenants are isolated so that one tenant cannot see, change, start, or stop the integration flow models of other tenants. Tenants also cannot see in-transit data of the other tenants, and the integration flows of each tenant do not interfere with the flows of other tenants.

IPaaS vs. PaaS

IPaaS should not to be confused with PaaS, or Platform-as-a-Service. PaaS provides a cloud-based environment with everything required to support the complete lifecycle of building and delivering web-based (cloud) applications—all without the cost and complexity of buying and managing the underlying hardware, software, provisioning and hosting.

IPaaS can supplement PaaS by providing the tools needed to integrate these web-based applications and the data that fuels them. Developers are often able to choose cloud-based integration tools from the service catalog for the PaaS solution they are using.

Learn more about PaaS, IaaS, and SaaS service models.

IPaaS vs. ESBs

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, businesses invested deeply in ESB (enterprise service bus) technology to support their SOA (service oriented architecture) initiatives and on-premise integration efforts. However, ESB is not meeting the digital transformation needs of the modern business. ESB is viewed as a heavyweight architecture that lacks agility. It is a heavily centralized approach that encompasses all of an enterprise’s integrations, but it cannot easily or quickly meet the individual needs of line-of-business teams to integrate cloud applications or data from sources outside the business.

IPaaS can complement existing ESB investments with a (typically) less expensive, more scalable, decentralized solution that enables the integration of systems and data residing in the cloud or even with other vendors.

Additionally, as with current application development techniques that use microservices and containers to build apps in a more granular way, a container-based approach can be adopted for integration. IPaaS solutions that leverage containers allow you to break up your ESB into smaller pieces to gain even greater agility, scalability, and resilience.

Tools and solutions

Multiple vendors are offering IPaaS tools and solutions to help both technical and non-technical users to manage, govern, and integrate their applications and data more easily than with traditional integration approaches. IPaaS examples can be grouped into two types of solutions:

  • Tools that allow IT specialists to design and deploy integration flows with more advanced tools and workflows
  • Simpler, self-service integration tools designed for business users to use without requiring much technical knowledge or skill

The ideal IPaaS solution should cover a broad set of integration scenarios so that businesses can deliver across any type of environment—on-premise, public, private, hybrid, and multiple cloud vendors.

Check out the report "Who leads the iPaaS space?" where G2 Crowd compiles user feedback and determines which products lead the field based on user reviews and market presence scores. 

IPaaS and IBM

IBM Cloud has a rich history in integration, and the company has built on that experience to design a modern integration platform that is simple to provision and deploy in hybrid and multicloud environments.

IBM Cloud Pak for Integration encompasses all aspects of integration, including messaging, event streaming, and high-speed data transfer. It offers a single login to access multiple tools and to govern accessibility. The platform embraces an agile integration strategy, allowing you to choose the form of integration you want, whether its microservices, containerization, messaging, APIs, or application integration. And finally, to support the dynamic needs of multicloud environments, the platform can scale rapidly.

Learn more about developing an agile integration strategy and leveraging a cloud integration platform designed for today’s demands.

Register for a free IBM Cloud account.

Follow IBM Cloud

IBM Cloud News connects you to insight and information you can put to work right away—straight from the minds of IBM Cloud experts, IBM customers, and business and IT leaders.

Email subscribeRSS

Be the first to hear about news, product updates, and innovation from IBM Cloud