Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Agile Integration for the Nexus

Last month I attended the Gartner Application Architecture Development & Integration Summit. The Keynote and theme throughout the conference was the Nexus of forces, Social, Cloud, Mobile, and Information (Big Data). A crucial supporting theme was the necessity for Agile Integration Technologies. The big integration players, they say, will be “DOA” (dead on arrival) as the importance of agility spills over from business to technology in a bigger way than ever.

Agile integration is all about communicating across all kinds of endpoints in all kinds of formats with all kinds of integration patterns, and all adjusted to make sense together. It is about getting it in place quickly and it’s about integration that adapts to the changing environment, devices, and fast pace business changes. The archaic picture of integration- making data move from one place to another- simply won’t do the trick.

Most integration products focus only on Social Media OR On-Premise OR Cloud OR mobile OR Big Data. They tend to be based on a model of SOA OR ETL, OR Data Virtualization, OR Messaging Bus. This means that you need to have multiple integration products, each handling its own specialty.  Even with the big integration players, who would blatantly use AND instead of OR, you are jumping from one environment to another, since their claim to breadth comes largely from acquisition. Their “AND” consists of the camouflage duct tape and baling wire utilities provided.  Suppose you have need for an integration pattern that combines ETL, Cloud, Mobile, and Data Virtualization?  It’s really unfathomable that you could tie integration from multiple platforms together in a way that anyone could call “Agile.”

What does agile integration really mean to your business and your tech team?  It means being able to support agile decisions and an agile enterprise, with significantly less resources and at a lower cost.  

Here are some requirements to look for to assess the agility of an integration product, and examples:

1)      Agility requires:  Reusability
       Reusable connections, business logic, schemas… most everything.

2)      Agility requires:  Rapid time-to-value
       Generate integration definitions, test them, and deploy quickly to begin getting immediate business benefit                                                                                                                                                

3)      Agility requires:  Instantly adapting to changing requirements
       Add a new source, change the business rules, move some data to cache, and anything else in the configuration must be easily changed in minutes. Deploy to cloud when needed, or as Mobile accessible integration

4)      Agility requires:  Scaling up or down quickly and easily
       Fast-growing businesses need scaling up for growth or acquisition, and scaling down as needed for distributed use

5)      Agility requires:  Connectivity to Everything
       Single platform connects and reuses integration definitions for electronic instruments, enterprise ERPs, cloud apps, spreadsheets, relational databases, b2b standards, etc.

6)      Agility requires:  Simple construction of Complex Integration Patterns
       Add caching, data synchronization, or ETL to an on-demand data virtualization with write-back.

7)      Agility requires:  Deploying integration logic multiple ways
       One Button Deployment and Hosting of Data Virtualization as web service, REST, ODBC, JDBC, OData, connection string, SharePoint BDC/BCS etc.

8)      Agility requires:  Single product; Single platform.
       No jumping in and out of multiple environments and trying to make them work together

9)      Agility requires:  Completely metadata driven; Single Metadata Stack
       Means external programming is reduced to nothing; heavy reusability; visibility of the state across the whole integration at any time

10)   Agility requires:  Configured, not coded.
        Enough said.

Agility meansMinimal Tech Debt. All of these points greatly reduce tech debt by virtue of agility. It just doesn’t get any better than that.

Stone Bond’s Enterprise Enabler® is THE Agile Integration Software.

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