Let’s say I’m an integration. (Don't laugh!) What is this “integration” that I actually am? Well, I have been configured for a specific purpose or set of uses, and I know exactly how to access each source, not just the class of source, like SAP, web service, Oracle database, or Excel spreadsheet, for example, but I know where each resides, what its security access is, and what subset of information is of interest for this purpose. I also know what data to filter out from each, what validation needs to be done as I grab the data, and how to make whatever multiple sources are involved meaningful together.
I cross-reference key fields, change units of measure, align formats, and apply functions to aggregate, analyze, or otherwise manipulate the data so it makes sense for this set of uses. And if I’m passed a query along the way, I definitely know how to deal with providing a subset from the domain I’m designed for. I’m pretty smart, don’t you think? Not to mention self-centered. I’m an Active Integration from Enterprise Enabler® that has been configured in fifteen minutes.
What do I care how I get initiated, or by whom? Certainly not me! I’m just standing by the phone waiting for a call. In the end, whatever terminology you use, I’m the core of “Convergence” of integration modes. Just tell me, and I’ll do the heavy-lifting of an ETL, physically moving data from several heres to a there, or serve data up virtually as a data set through a web service. Put me on a schedule or maybe have me do my integration whenever the ice cream truck comes. (That’s my favorite kind of event to respond to!). So you see that even if it’s a user refreshing a browser page, or querying a specific subset of data, it’s all the same to me.
Sometimes I inadvertently find myself in the middle of a brawl of my counterparts from other worlds, who only know one way of operating. You know, ETL, EAI, SOA, or Data Virtualization. They think they’re the best at what they do, which is always only one of those. They have to contort themselves to the point of pain in order to play in more than one arena. I, on the other hand, am so flexible I can do any of the above and touch my toes (with and ice cream cone in my hand) without grunting. If it starts to drip, I just cache it somewhere. And by the way, I'll challenge my counterparts to their specialty any day!
It’s true, though, that sometimes I have my own internal existential contemplation, wondering if I really exist. All my counterparts call me names, saying I’m nothing but a bunch of metadata. L Nevertheless, I am the Master that can be used anywhere in any mode, maintaining standardization and agility at the same time. It’s a bit like yoga.