Stefan Reid from Forrester Research recently put out a report on cloud integration called “The Forrester Wave: Hybrid Integration, Q1 2014”. I was happy to see that Microsoft was well represented, and that they did well. Microsoft’s key product contributions were Windows Azure BizTalk Services and Windows Azure Service Bus. Reid talks about the growing need for Cloud Based Integration and iPaaS due to the growing adoption of SaaS applications coupled with traditional and existing on premise applications and data.
Microsoft came out as Leaders in Wide Integration, Deep Integration, and Cloud Integration, and for good reason. You probably won’t find an easier or more cost effective cloud based messaging infrastructure than BizTalk Services and Service Bus alongside Microsoft’s other cloud services. Couple this with Microsoft’s on-premise application infrastructure presence and its on-premise ESB presence with BizTalk Server, and you pretty much define what wide and deep means. Microsoft does cloud well, isn’t going anywhere, and with purpose built iPaaS solutions now living in Windows Azure, you are pretty much guaranteed to have the tools you need to solve your cloud integration challenges.
I was also happy to see that Reid acknowledged the role of both API and SOA, something dear to SOA Software’s heart, in hybrid cloud integration. Here is what he had to say:
“[In our analysis], we apply the well-known principles of the SOA world such as metadata life-cycle management or metadata federation to all integration capabilities holistically. We asked vendors, for example, how the change to a custom EDI message type propagates from a B2B gateway, across a connected ESB, to a data integration tool. The less manual effort it takes to translate an EDI schema into a web service definition or data model definition, the higher the scores are. Hence, [part of our scoring] evaluates the wide interoperability across suites of tools.”
Music to my ears. So the same management techniques required to make SOA successful is now needed to make cloud integration successful. This is something we have been saying for years. And the importance of cloud integration automation, which removes the “manual effort” that Reid alludes to is another key takeaway from the report, and something we put great emphasis on as well.
From an API standpoint, Reid also had this to say:
“Many enterprises have internally a lot of data and business logic that, once shared with customers, can improve the customer experience and increase engagement. A retailer might expose, for example, an API of the order status to an external developer creating a mobile app with this data. API management tools make these APIs visible to external developers securely and with high performance.”
Even more music. Mozart and Beethoven are dueling with violins in my ears. This is exactly what SOA Software has targeted for Microsoft customers in the cloud through our ability to use Windows Azure Service Bus to expose internal Microsoft data as APIs hosted on the cloud. Reid gets it right on two counts – that you cannot ignore internal data, and that the more you expose your internal data, the more you improve the experience of your own end customers.
So both API and SOA technology have a lot to say about the capabilities of a cloud integration solution. This should not surprise you. Wherever large, complex data and systems are at play – on-premise or in the cloud, or both – the principles of SOA and API are at play. And this is the SOA Software vision and goal for the Microsoft cloud. Thanks to Mr. Reid for nicely highlighting this important point.
And what are your needs and opportunities in this hybrid integration area? Let us know how SOA Software and Microsoft can you help make hybrid cloud integration easy and powerful.