Two Speed Integration by IBM
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With Interconnect 2015 only a few days away... and given Hybrid Cloud is such a big topic of this conference, we thought it would be good to share this point of view.
This article provides the point of view that is driving IBM’s delivery of a Two Speed Integration Platform in 2015.
The demands of the digital business have created and accelerated the notion of the “bi-modal” IT organization where one part, the Steady Speed, is responsible for delivering enterprise-strength IT services, and the other, the Fast Speed, is ready to take advantage of new digital business opportunities.
Steady Speed IT runs stable, mission critical systems that are always up, always on. Steady speed IT tends to run on dedicated or protected infrastructure to handle predictable, high volume workloads. Steady Speed IT uses approaches and methodologies that provide control, security, and transactional integrity to ensure that critical SLAs and business needs are met.
Steady Speed is commonly associated with premise-based systems as most companies have existing investments for this type of IT within the Enterprise boundary. Steady Speed is not about a location but a method. So while commonly referred to as the premise-based systems, it is not limited to the enterprise data center in anyway.
Fast Speed IT uses agile, fast, just safe-enough techniques to explore, adopt and adapt to new opportunities and embrace the ones that stick. High Speed is characterized by rapid iteration and prototyping and leverages emerging tools and platforms. Experimental activities that are low risk and low cost can yield differentiating returns by pushing on the innovative curve.
Fast speed is commonly associated with cloud-based systems. The ease of provisioning and acquiring applications and infrastructure in the cloud, lends it to fit nicely with the Fast Speed work. However, it is not tied to the cloud and a fast zone may be implemented on premises with the necessary method and technologies.
Meeting in the Middle
Firms looking to gain and maintain competitive advantage find that it is no longer sufficient just to live in the Steady Speed world. Conversely, breakthroughs achieved in the Fast Speed domain don’t deliver real business value until they are integrated with core systems. The ‘meet in the middle’ methodology is based upon controlled, appropriate real-time access to core systems and the movement of digital assets to the edge for use in Fast Speed initiatives.
2. Two Speed IT in action
The Digital Business requires a new approach
Digital businesses continuously exploit digital technologies to both create new sources of value for customers and increase operational agility in service of customers.
The digital business is not just about releasing a new App, it is a fundamentally different way of doing business and demands a new approach to the technologies that enable and drive this business strategy. It requires a rethink of the way we manage data and integrate systems for the digital era.
The New Approach: Becoming a digital business
Becoming a digital business is a constant journey of evolution rather than revolution. We want to leverage and reuse the data and application capabilities across the business, whether premise-based or cloud-based. As a digital business, we need to reuse application capabilities in new contexts, interact with business data across the business, and get notified when something important or relevant to us changes.
To achieve this, we need a mechanism to create the digital assets that can be used to deliver the use cases of the new cloud and digital programs. This means finding and connecting to our systems of record, systems of engagement and systems of insight. It also means, getting and preparing the key business assets as data, APIs and events. This step of creating digital assets (data, API and events) in a consistent and cohesive manner is crucial to providing a backbone that our different digital initiatives can be driven of. In some cases, existing assets may be digital ready or can be ready with minor modifications like filtering of the data being served. In other cases, we must think about the consumption paradigms and patterns to ensure the assets we want to expose, are relevant and useful.
Once the digital assets are created, it is now possible to implement the use cases of our digital program. These use cases include, building engaging apps, extending business applications, integrating to create a Suite of business applications, preparing and refining data for analytics, commercializing data and APIs.
Integration underpins the digital business
It becomes clear that the creation and management of the digital asset is an integration problem that can make or break the digital business. Common user stories, in this paradigm, all hint at integration as a main aspect. For example:
1. As a mobile developer, I want to build a new engaging App that uses existing business assets
2. As a data knowledge worker, I want to extract information from different systems and prepare them for reporting or movement to the analytics platform
3. As a SaaS Admin or business operations worker, I want to bring up a new SaaS App with the necessary data and keep it in synch with other applications and systems
4. As an Enterprise Integration/Data Specialist, I want to safely and securely expose Enterprise Assets for use in digital programs
These stories require integration tasks both in the fast and steady zones, performed by different roles, and still managed in a consistent and comprehensive manner. This is what Two Speed Integration is about. Powering the Digital business and two speed IT requires two speed Integration.
Two Speed integration from IBM brings together integration products and services purposely designed for the needs of both Fast and Steady IT, with a clearly defined interface between the two, ensuring that both sides work cooperatively together.
Fast Speed Integration
Fast speed integration has three key use cases, which also bring three different types of target user:
1. SaaS Integration - for a SaaS admin
2. Digital Transformation - for a mobile/cloud app developer
3. Data & analytics - for a data knowledge worker
As businesses increasingly leverage SaaS applications for varying business needs, the need for a clear SaaS Integration strategy has become critical. SaaS Integration is responsible for the integration of existing systems with the rapidly changing and highly customized SaaS applications by ensuring:
1. The applications are loaded with the right information so that the business users can derive the necessary value of the application
2. Synchronization with existing and new systems to avoid information getting stale or out of date, which has implications on business decision making
3. Exposing new insights from these applications to be used by other platforms for initiatives like mobile application development and analytics.
The world is going digital, our customers are going digital, our employees are going digital, our partners are going digital. Our business needs to be digital so that we stay engaged, maintain customer satisfaction and maximize new business opportunities.
This leads us to the realization that rather than a specific team or a specific App, the success of digital transformation is determined by creating a portfolio of capabilities and enabling broader communities including 3rd parties to innovate around our business goals.
In this environment fast speed integration become essential and it’s all about getting the right digital assets, API’s, Data and Events to the fingertips of the app developer enabling them to:
● Find the best available API’s and Data sources for their apps
● Define new API’s they need for their apps
● Create local versions of the API to develop their apps
● Rapidly iterate and update API definitions as they develop and trial their apps
● Securely connect to enterprise services and data to create production APIs
Data & Analytics
Enabling business operation workers and data knowledge workers to access and prepare information for their day to day business tasks (reporting, analysis, decision making) is a critical business requirement. This is driving the needs for new ways of interacting with systems, shaping the data and preparing for movement or use. This category is about supporting these initiatives as well as the new trends to cloud data marts and the necessary movement and quality capabilities needed to do this efficiently and with trust and provenance.
Steady Speed Integration
Steady Speed integration is the domain of the enterprise IT teams responsible for connecting, integrating and governing applications and data sources across the enterprise. The Steady Speed integration teams will be concerned with business operations requirements around continued security of data, availability of data, availability of business applications.
We can consider Steady speed integration to include, Enterprise Connectivity and Enterprise integration.
This domain caters to the connectivity capabilities required to work with your existing
business assets, ranging from z/OS applications, through COTS packages like JD Edwards, to SWIFT exchange services. Enterprise connectivity provides the intelligent adapters and connectors to ensure you efficiently leverage the value in these systems. It also handles the complexity of interacting with large SOR and ERP type systems that have evolved over a long period of time.
Enterprise Integration ( SOA )
Enterprise Integration provides the enterprise-strength capabilities for delivering information to the right place at the right time by enabling the cooperation and coordination between the enterprise business systems.
Most customers will have implemented their enterprise integration as an SOA. This approach positions them well for two speed IT where SOA services can be assembled into APIs.
Connecting the two speeds of integration - Meeting in the Middle
The steady and fast zone are critical for supporting the conflicting pressures on the IT. But, the real benefits are gained from the interconnection of these zones.
To enable this connection we need well defined interfaces, of API’s and Data which cross between the two speeds.
Where fast and steady speed It are also separated by use of cloud and on premise technologies, the Gateway provides the mechanism to secure and manage the interconnections at the boundaries of the cloud and enterprise. It handles the API, Services and Cloud connectivity and ensures this is done securely with policies and controls across the boundaries and borders in a seamless way.
This section discusses the capabilities in each category that enables the required objectives.
Datapower is a purpose built security and integration Gateway available as an appliance or virtual appliance. It features configuration driven policy for management of security and SLAs enforced on a purpose-built, DMZ ready platform.
Integration Bus is a core integration component, which typically sits in the heart of the datacenter and provides any to any connectivity supporting simple and complex data formats. It provides a rich and robust feature set enabling real-time integration use cases at scale across messages, events, and documents.
WebSphere ESB is a Java based ESB whose capability set has been merged into Integration Bus and continue to be supported. However, all new key advancements will be delivered through Integration Bus. Extensive conversion tooling, free training, migration workshops, and IT migration services are available to assist customers in upgrading to Integration Bus. WebSphere Application Server is used in conjunction with IIB to provides a JEE SOAP Gateway for processing Java/WS-* transaction scenarios. WESB integration functions are provided within IBM BPM advanced as the means to orchestration business processes that require integration.
Smarter Process capabilities are focused on digitizing & automating both business process and decisions. A customer has not gone through a digital transformation unless they have done this. IBM’s BPM and Decision capabilities leverage integration the technology described in this paper to interact with backend systems. An increasingly popular pattern is to expose Business Processes and Decision end-points as APIs by using IBM API Management.
Cast Iron (SaaS Integration) provides integration capabilities that are geared towards the integration of SaaS properties with each other and on premise systems. It provides a repository of pre-built Templates for hundreds of common integration patterns to simplify and accelerate the creation of solutions.
The Bluemix Integration Services (Digital Transformation) services provide the capabilities needed for digital transformation projects. Digital transformation is all about about API’s , the integration services are about enabling the life cycle of the API from define ( with Swagger ) through Create, Assemble, Secure , Manage ,Socialize, and Distribute.
Mobile Integration - .Delivers an iOS and hybrid app integration capability, enabling a mobile client to easily access APIs on a mobile backend (Bluemix), that can can connect to a variety of back end sources.
API Harmony - Find a match for the right API for your app. Built from a corpus of the world’s public APIs, it understands relationships between already selected APIs and new ones being searched for.
API Creation and Assembly - Provides the ability through a new separate service and User Interface to instantiate a connector, generate an API, and create an API Assembly. Define API’s with Swagger, create local API’s , connect back to system of record data and services and aggregate data.
API Management - Provides the ability to publish, promote, and oversee APIs in a secure, scalable environment. It also includes the creation of end user support resources that define and document the API.
DataWorks provides the simple experience for data knowledge workers and business operations workers to conduct their data preparation tasks. It also provides the services around data preparation that developers can use ranging from data validation to cleansing.
Cloud Connectors, a core microservice, provides a mechanism to connect to and coordinate work across the different applications in the cloud and SaaS ecosystem. These connectors are leveraged by the different integration and API capabilities to simplify and accelerate tasks.
MQLight another core microservice provides the capabilities for App Messaging and provides the infrastructure to enable messaging between the different cloud based (fast speed) services.
Meeting in the Middle
Gateway, Datapower, provides the means for configuring secure connectivity from the cloud to the enterprise and the distribution and management of the passports that control crossing the borders. The gateway also serves as the service gateway for the enterprise enabling the control around what services and APIs are exposed and who has the necessary privileges in their passport to use these services.
This article was written by some of our rock stars of Hybrid Cloud and Integration. Larry Yusuf, Andy Gibbs, and Steve Cerverny... Oh... and I helped too (Especially with the figures)... Also, I want to acknowledge contributions in thought from Don Boulia, Aarti Borkar, Andy Hoyt and Dan Wolfson.