It’s been couple of weeks since I started working on a technical design document for one of our customers. They are replacing their existing integration tool with IBM WebSphere Cast Iron tool to integrate Salesforce with two existing on-premise business applications. After understanding their existing technology eco-system, I was curious to learn why they chose Cast Iron as the replacement. I ended up looking into different SaaS Integration tools available in the market.
This blog post is an attempt to share what I’ve learned – First, an overview of Cloud Integration basics, then an overview of the major players in Cloud integration space: Boomi, Cast Iron, Informatica Cloud and MuleSoftTM.
Next week I will continue with an exploration of use cases and limitations for each product suite.
Cloud Integration Basics:
What is Cloud Integration?
• Cloud Integration, or Platform-as-a-Service, is a category of cloud computing services that provides a computing platform and a solution stack as a service. PaaS offerings facilitate the deployment of applications or services without the cost and complexity of buying and managing the underlying hardware and software and provisioning hosting capabilities
• Cloud Integration is typically split into 2 deployment types, Hybrid and SaaS deployments
• Hybrid: Integrating SaaS applications with on-premise applications
• SaaS: Integrating SaaS applications with other SaaS applications
• Generally speaking, there are two types of Systems Integration: B2B Integration – Integrating data/systems across two or more organizations; and integrating data/systems within a single organization.
What is Integration Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)?
- The concept behind integration platform-as-a-service (PaaS) is that it allows SaaS providers to take complete control of integration for end customers, without relying on third-party integration products, while also offering end customers tools and/or libraries to build applications, and giving end consumers control of software deployment and configuration
- SaaS providers are able to use the platform to build productized integration processes and then embed those processes in their own applications
- Businesses can use the platform to consume productized integrations provided by SaaS vendors or build their own connectors.
Cloud Integration Tools:
Some of the major players in the Cloud integration arena, we will cover the market leaders today:
- Dell Boomi
- IBM WebSphere Cast Iron
- Informatica Cloud
- Boomi was one of the first integration-as-a-service cloud providers. They offer a service called AtomSphere®, which is an integration platform service that connects cloud-based services with other (onsite and SaaS) applications
- Boomi was acquired by Dell in 2010
- In addition to offering community-powered Boomi Suggest™ to suggest common data mappings, AtomSphere® simplifies complex web services technology such as SOAP, WSDL, and Java into wizards that walk the user through the configuration of connectors without having to learn complex APIs.
Enterprise Integration Capability offered
- Drag and drop workflow — no coding required
- Support for simple to complex business logic
- Simple wizards for browsing applications
- Access to hundreds of applications and data sources
- Massive scalability
- Any-to-any data transformation
- Industry certified security model
- Build your own new connectors
IBM Cast Iron:
- IBM Cast Iron is an offering from IBM which provides clients with a platform for integrating cloud-based applications from leading SaaS providers with on-premise applications
- IBM acquired Cast Iron Systems in 2010 and debuted the WebSphere Cast Iron Cloud Integration offering shortly thereafter.
- Enterprise Integration Capability offered
Multiple deployment options like
- WebSphere DataPower Cast Iron Appliance XH40
- WebSphere Cast Iron Hypervisor Edition
- WebSphere Cast Iron Live
- Connectivity: Products provide connectivity to hundreds of cloud and on-premise applications, databases, web services, messaging systems and many other end-points.
- Transformation: Enables you to transform data from source to target applications using a graphical, drag-and-drop interface.
- Business Logic: You can graphically define the flow of data between source and target applications and setup business logic rules with a ‘configuration, not coding’ approach.
- Management: Provides a Web-based console to monitor integration transactions, handle exceptions and provide proactive alerting for data and connectivity errors.
- Web API Services: Provides a secure environment with capabilities to easily and rapidly assemble and publish compelling APIs– with added business analytics functionality to adapt or grow applications to meet the needs of developer community and consumption models.
- Mobile data access: Enhanced scenarios to rapidly access and integrate applications for mobile app development that scale to any consumption model across devices.
- Informatica has developed an award winning family of cloud data integration solutions specifically designed to help SaaS application and platform (for example, Salesforce CRM and Force.com) customers integrate cloud-based data with the data residing in on-premise databases and systems or between cloud applications.
- Recognizing the need to deliver self-service integration solutions to non-technical users that are easy to trial, set-up, and use over the web, Informatica Cloud Services have were recognized as the #1 integration solution on the AppExchange 4 years running.
- Enterprise Integration Capability offered
Available in multiple editions like Data Loader, Cloud integration and Cloud MDM
- Data Synchronization:Informatica Cloud delivers powerful bi-directional data loading and extraction capabilities and offers a library of pre-packaged Informatica Cloud Connectors and Integration Templates. Whether its data migration, back office or customer master data synchronization, or CRM data integration, Informatica Cloud delivers multitenant SaaS applications that are powerful and proven, yet easy users to administer and manage.
- Data Quality: Informatica Cloud allows you to measure and monitor data quality in the Lead, Opportunity, Contact, and Account objects within Salesforce CRM. Data quality dashboards allow you to quickly identify duplicate, incomplete & inconsistent data and automated scheduling allows you to easily monitor and maintain ongoing data integrity..
- Data Replication: Informatica Cloud allows SaaS administrators and IT managers to easily automate the replication or back-up of data in cloud-based applications to on-premise databases, or files.. With Informatica Cloud, you can set up data replication to run every few minutes and leverage your in-house business intelligence tools for enterprise reporting requirements.
- Data Loading: The Informatica Cloud Data Loader is a free integration service for SaaS customers (Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, and NetSuite, etc.) that automates the loading and extraction of data between those applications and any database or file. It has consistently been the most popular AppExchange application of all time for Salesforce customers.
- Cloud MDM:Informatica Cloud MDM helps to increase the value of your Salesforce CRM investment with better lead conversion, customer targeting and cross-sell outcomes. It is a native Force.com solution, which is fully integrated with salesforce.com and deployed in the cloud, with no need to install additional hardware or software.
- Cloud Connector Toolkit: This toolkit enables to build connectors for existing cloud, on-premise, or niche applications through an enterprise-class Java cloud connectivity API. Also delivers complete native connectivity to an application’s data objects and browse metadata easily.
- MuleSoftTMis an integration platform for connecting SaaS and enterprise applications in the cloud and on-premises. It enables companies to easily connect SaaS, mobile and on-premises systems, within and across organizations. It is built on the world’s most widely used open source integration technology, giving customers to create, manage, and market custom integration templates
- The open source Mule project was founded in 2003 by Ross Mason, who was looking to replace integration (donkey work – according to Ross) with a new platform that emphasized ease of development, flexibility, and re-use of components.
- MuleSoftTMgot its name from an animal – Mule, which is a breed of male donkey and female Horse. Hence they wanted to build a software which could perform as fast as a running horse and which can carry load as a donkey does. Thereby, MuleSoftTM is all about fast integration with lots of data load with it.
- MuleSoftTMwas named a Leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrants for On-Premises Application Integration Suites and Enterprise Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS). MuleSoftTM is the only vendor to be named a Leader in both of these Gartner Magic Quadrants
- MuleSoftTMhas a very active developer community (210,000+ Members)
- Enterprise Integration Capability offered
- Multiple deployment options
- MuleSoftTMESB: An integration platform for connecting enterprise applications, on-premise and the cloud, which eliminates custom integration code
- MuleSoftTMAnypoint Platform: The only complete platform for SOA (Service-oriented architecture), SaaS integration and APIs.
- MuleSoftTMCloudHub: The CloudHub integration platform as a service (iPaaS) allows you to build and offer repeatable integration applications without creating custom code.
- Anypoint Connectors: Out-of-the-box connectivity to enterprise and SaaS applications.
- MuleSoftTM‘s Tcat Server: An enterprise Tomcat application server that runs existing Apache Tomcat applications.
- API Solution: Solution to design, build, publish, secure and manage APIs. This is built on top of MuleSoftTM
- Unified development experience: To build custom integration applications to deploy either on-premise or in the cloud.
- Complete Solution for any Integration: Everything you need to design, build, manage and engage app developers with your API’s. It supports all parties throughout the API’s life cycle on a single platform.
- API developers friendly: It ensures collaboration during design time between API and API developer’s concise, spontaneous API description, and ensures consistency, quality and usability. There is an extensive library of pre-build connectors which can be used out-of-box for many integration solutions.
- Proven Integration Capabilities: MuleSoftTMis one of the market-leading integration capabilities with security, re-usability and reliability.
Syed is a Salesforce Lead consultant at Apps associates. He has 9 years of technology consulting experience, 7 of which he spent in Finland working with enterprise clients globally. Syed’s primary areas of expertise are Mobile application development, Salesforce.com/Force.com architecture, Data model design, and business process analysis. His passion is in understanding customer needs and finding ways to fulfill them in the best possible way from both the company and customer perspective. Syed has his MS in Business and Technology Management from Finland. He lives in India with family and loves to play with his kids when he is at home. He is also a sports person and loves to spend time swimming and keeping fit.