Spaghetti alla Cloud? It’s what’s on the menu for most organizations today. With the explosion of popularity for SaaS applications, as well PaaS (Cloud platforms) and IaaS (Cloud Infrastructures), most IT architectures and business flows resemble a moving, tangled mess of noodles. I’m pretty sure that if you dig deeper, you’ll find some pretty old, legacy meatballs in there too.
The idea that our IT architectures remind us of a bowl of spaghetti isn’t new; in fact, the complexity of integrating on-premises applications and legacy systems has been a challenge for decades, leading many companies to try out SOA (Service oriented architecture) as well as ESB platforms (Enterprise Service Bus). Unfortunately, a number of new challenges are putting even greater strain on our existing architectures.
– The explosion of SaaS (Software-as-a-Service): Cloud solutions are increasingly popular with IT teams given their promise of agility, cost reduction and speed. Today, the average company uses 923 cloud services. This means incessant waves of new applications, each with disconnected islands of data,
– Even more SaaS when you consider how easy it is for business users to start using a tool without informing IT. It’s not rare to find “free” versions used in important business processes (survey tools for instance), as well as add-ons and extensions acquired directly from cloud platforms such as Salesforce AppExchange or AWS Marketplace. Some sources report that the average person now uses 28 cloud apps regularly.
“How many Cloud or SaaS applications do organizations run? At least twice the number they think they run” (tweet this now !)
– Cloud churn is a fact of today’s fast-paced cloud market, where cloud businesses come and go rapidly, meaning that you might lose access to your provider and therefore your data. Users don’t hesitate to move to a better or cheaper solution, and seem less attached to Cloud solutions than their on-premises equivalents,
– Hybrid, Private and Public clouds, different implementation flavors of cloud computing, add an additional challenge of integrating through the firewall,
– The changing nature of modern business means that organizations are continually adapting, adjusting and adopting new technologies and practices,
– And of course, let’s not even talk about the Internet of Things quite yet, but the size of your plate is about to explode.
The result? Spaghetti alla Cloud, that can leave your business bloated when cloud computing was supposed to be a liberating, game-changing paradigm instead.
Untangling your spaghetti architecture
Overloading on Spaghetti alla Cloud can have a significant impact on your organization’s competitive edge, just as there is a fine line between an athlete carb-loading before a race and a couch-potato with stomach cramps.
TechTarget’s 2015 IT Priorities Survey provides insight into the top IT projects: Big data integration, data warehousing, business intelligence and reporting all depend on having a high quality, up-to-date data feed. As the IT saying goes, “garbage in, garbage out,” meaning that bad input will always result in bad output.
Developing your own point-to-point enterprise application integration (EAI) patterns is, naturally, a bad idea. The cost of development, implementation and maintenance would be prohibitive; it’s important to think about the long run and the total cost of operations. Unfortunately, the traditional alternative, a SOA + ESB approach, also has a very high cost of implementation, meaning it’s rarely rolled out properly and even less frequently kept up to par with business needs.
Your application integration solution must be robust while not hindering your agility. Flexibility and scalability are the key for both software and the supporting hardware and this is where Cloud options really shine. They lower the total cost of ownership for servers, bringing on-demand scalability and capacity, while improving performance for globally distributed users.
In part II of this post, we’ll explore how solutions for cloud integration, such as Talend Integration Cloud, help prevent IT indigestion and we will uncover four key tips for selecting your next Cloud Service Integration solution.