EAI: Integrating Applications In The Cloud

Cloud computing is the clear future for enterprise solutions. Read about effective application integration in the cloud, and why it is a critical feature for enterprises.

In business today, accessing and organizing data from different data sources such as the cloud, SaaS, social networks, and web data sources demands effective application integration in order to maintain seamless flow of information. At the heart of this need is enterprise application integration, or EAI. EAI involves the integration of different applications within an organisation in order to facilitate the flow of data and seamless integration of business processes, as well as to simplify business processes by automating the entire process without the need for extensive changes either to the application or data structures.

Traditional Approach – Middleware

Traditionally, integration was done through middleware, which was either bought from a vendor or code written on a custom basis. While middleware is still a viable option for many companies, it can be an expensive and time-consuming implementation, and often has to be adjusted continuously creeping demands of business process expansions and upgrades to existing technologies.

Application Integration and Cloud Computing

The advent of cloud computing, however, gives enterprises an alternative to the “pain points” of the traditional approach. Today more and more enterprises are taking application integration into the cloud.

What is different about cloud integration is that it provides a new way for delivering integration. However, the main issue of proliferation of business data, which the traditional solutions are unable to manage, remains unresolved. Though we have made great advancement in certain respects, the dependence on hand coded and point-to-point solutions is the greatest drawback of application integration. As far as programming languages are concerned there are several easy to use languages like Perl, Python, PHP, Ruby available, however these don’t make integration easier in any way. This is because the hand coded solutions are fragile, not reusable, hard to maintain and not easily extensible as requirements change. The greatest disadvantage of hand-coded solutions is the cost of development and the much greater cost of maintenance. Hence, what is required is a better solution that is capable of handling the data deluge and the diverse data sources.

Solution to Cloud Application Integration Challenge

The solution to this challenge of cloud integration is a new approach or business model that can provide a simple, consistent, easy to use, reusable, and infinitely extensible option to facilitate easier integration between applications. The availability of new integration software in the market has made things easier for enterprises as it manages integration needs of all kinds. What is remarkable about this platform is that it eliminates hand-coded solutions and in its place brings custom-made data packets that can integrate any kind of applications. Moreover, these data packets can read, write, and transform from any location, allowing databases, files, web, and SaaS data to be shared and utilized by applications as needed. What is unique about these data packets is that some of these are available for free.

Today, integration solutions are not confined to traditional Extract, Transform, Load (ETL), Enterprise Application Integration (EAI), or Enterprise Information Integration (EII) alone. The data needs to be integrated with various end points such as files, spreadsheets, reports, public websites, cloud-based SaaS applications, web services, social media, and others. In such a scenario, the availability of this modern technology is a relief for all enterprises tired of facing the various integration issues.

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