Where SOA Meets Cloud

David Linthicum

Cloud Integration not as easy as Many Think

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Okay, you need to push your customer data to Salesforce.com, and back again? There are dozens of technologies, cloud and not cloud, which can make this happen. Moreover, there are many best practices and perhaps pre-built templates that are able to make this quick and easy.

But, what if you're not using Salesfoce.com, and your cloud is a rather complex IaaS or PaaS cloud, that is not as popular and thus not as well supported with templates and best practices? Now what?

Well, you're back in the days when integration was uncharted territory and when you had to be a bit creative when attempting to exchange information with one complex and abstract system with another. This means mapping data, transformation and routing logic, adapters, many of the old school integration concepts seem to be a lost art these days. Just because your source or target system is a cloud and not a traditional system, that does not make it any easier.

The good news is that there are an awful lot of effective integration technologies around these days, most of them on-premise with a few of them cloud-delivered. But, learning to use these products still requires that you have a project mentality when approaching cloud-to-enterprise integration, and it's not an afterthought, as it is many times. This means time, money, and learning that many enterprises have not dialed into their cloud enablement projects.

Many smaller consulting firms are benefiting form this confusion and are out there promoting their ability to connect stuff in your data center with stuff in the cloud. Most fall way short in delivering the value and promise of cloud integration, and I'm seeing far too many primitive connections, such as custom programmed interfaces and FTP solutions out there. That's a dumb option these days, considering that the problem as already been solved by others.

I suspect that integration will continue to be an undervalued part of cloud computing, until it becomes the cause of many cloud computing project failures. Time to stop underestimating that work that needs to be done here.

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This blog is your first step toward understanding the issues you will face as cloud computing and SOA converge. The movement to cloud computing is a disruptive change that IT departments will soon face as SOA and cloud computing begin to have an effect on the modern enterprise. IT managers must learn how to give as well as take information in this new, shareable environment, while still protecting their company's interests. Innovative companies will take advantage of these new resources and reinvent themselves as unstoppable forces in their markets. Those who don't take advantage of this revolution will become quickly outdated, perhaps out of business.

David Linthicum

David Linthicum is the CTO of Blue Mountain Labs, and an internationally known distributed computing and application integration expert. View more

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