Predicts 2013: the Rise of the Cloud-Enabled Integration Platform

Predicting the future is always a risky endeavor. It is also a custom in our industry around this time of the year, and we won’t dodge it.

My first Predict is that… 90% of the 2013 Predicts in our industry will be related to big data or Hadoop. And because of this, I will start this series with a Predict that is not related to big data (no worry, Big Data Predicts will come later).

Cloud Predicts were popular these past few years. We are seeing less of them nowadays. Probably because the cloud platform is now ubiquitous. But, because of this ubiquity, new challenges arise.

Predict: 2013 will see the rise of integration platforms designed to support and be deployed in complex hybrid environments, spanning on-premises and cloud-based.

The question is no longer whether an organization’s application portfolio runs on premises or in the cloud, but rather of what the mix is in an ever more hybrid environment. Some applications will themselves run in hybrid mode, deployed on premises but seeking elastic resources in the cloud. In addition, many organizations don’t have a clear boundary between virtualized servers and a private cloud platform – for all intents and purposes, their private cloud is viewed as an extension, if not an integrant part, of the IT infrastructure.

These blurry lines are not integration-friendly. Traditional, engine-based integration solutions require large pipelines to and from their engine where all the transformations occur. This creates strain on the infrastructure, induces considerable costs, and slows down the overall integration process thus limiting the ability to provide timely integration.

The past few years have seen the emergence of cloud-only integration products. While these can be very efficient for loading Facebook data into with minimum transformation, they lack the depth and breadth of features of traditional integration platforms.

In 2013, enterprises will adopt cloud-enabled integration platforms, which will offer:

  • Broad connectivity to on-premises and cloud-based systems
  • Deep and robust integration feature sets
  • Flexibility to be themselves deployed in heavily distributed and hybrid environments