Monday, June 20, 2016

The Dirty "Little" Secrets of Legacy Integration

The more I learn about integration products on the market, the more astounded I become.  Fortune XXX companies buy politically “safe” products from IBM, Informatica, SAP, and Oracle and launch into tens of millions of dollars’ worth of services to implement them. Egad!   They’d be better off with holes in their collective heads!

Remember the childrens’ story, The Emperor’s New Clothes? Isn’t it time for someone to come out and tell the real story?

Shouldn’t an enterprise grade integration solution simplify data integration instead of creating Rube Goldberg projects?  Does it really make sense to have to send personnel to intense training classes that take months?

Nine things that astound me about other enterprise grade integration products, along with how Enterprise Enabler makes it easier, ultimately reducing the time-to-value by 60% to 80%.

1.     Robust transformation engines are mostly non-existent. This means that anything beyond the simplest relationships and formulas must be hand coded. That’s a huge impediment to fast time-to-value. Enterprise Enabler has a powerful transformation engine that captures mapping, validation, federation, and business rules as metadata instructions through a single GUI without requiring programming. 

2.      Transformation engines cannot interact with the endpoints in their native state. This means there has to be a complete integration to get each source’s data into a compatible format before transformation. Enterprise Enabler's transformation engine receives data from multiple sources in their native formats, combines (federates) them live, and delivers results in any form, or by query.  

3.       Data federation is not applied to ETL, DV, or other modes directly from the sources. Each source is handled individually, and posted to a staging area in memory or database. Enterprise Enabler brings the data together logically "on-the-fly" without storing it in memory or anywhere, and passes it through the transformation engine to the destination or the virtual model. Sometimes for performance select data is cached and refreshed as required. 
4.       Many, if not most, endpoints are accessed via some standard like ODBC as opposed to using their native mode. This means that it is not possible to leverage special features of the native application, and negates the possibility of being a strong player in IoT. Enterprise Enabler accesses each source in its native format, enabling the execution to leverage various features specific to the endpoints at execution. Because of the robust proprietary endpoint connectors, called AppComms, Enterprise Enabler easily incorporates legacy ERPs with electronic instrumentation in a single integration step.

5.   Data Virtualization does not support “Write-Back” to the sources. (probably because of #4) Enterprise Enabler supports authorized end-user aware CRUD (Create, Read, Update, and Delete) write-back to source or sources when data is changed or entered from the calling application or dashboard. 

6.     Implementing an integration solution is a matter of working with a number of mostly stand-alone, disconnected tools each of which imposes rules for interaction. Enterprise Enabler is a single platform where everything is configured, tested, deployed, and monitored, with design-time validation, and embedded C# and VB code editors and compilers for outlier situations. A developer of DBA never needs to leave the Integrated Development Environment. 

7.      Various data integration modes (e.g., ETL, EAI, DV, SOA) are delivered by separate tools and do not offer reusability across those modes. With Enterprise Enabler, all modes, including complex integration patterns are configured within the same tool, leveraging and re-using metadata across modes. This means that an enterprise master virtual model can be easily re-purposed, with all the same logic, as an ETL. 

8.     Further, Enterprise Enabler has a data workflow engine, that serves as a composite application builder, with full visibility to the active state and process variables defined throughout the execution. 

9.   Finally, Enterprise Enabler's Integration Integrity Manager monitors endpopints for schema changes at integration touchpoints. When found, IIM traverses the metadata to determine the impact and notifies the owners of those objects.  

In short, none of the legacy integration platforms can hold up to the demands for agility that are essential for maintaining competitive advantage.

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