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Cloud Talk

Andre Yee

IBM Acquires Cast Iron For Cloud Based Integration

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Earlier this week, IBM announced that they were acquiring Cast Iron, the leader in appliance based integration solutions. For the purposes of full-disclosure, Cast Iron is an Eloqua partner and a good one. While Eloqua provides extensive integrations to all the major SaaS CRM systems, we partner with Cast Iron for integrations with on-premise CRMs and whenever custom integration needs occur.

The arena of enterprise integration has been around for a while - as an industry, we've been intentionally working on this for the past 15 years and we'll probably be working on it in the foreseeable future. I speak from experience - as an executive with Software AG (Saga Software) in the late 90's, I developed products to compete with the likes of Active Software (acquired by WebMethods), Vitria,Tibco, Mercator and a host of smaller players. Our goal was to make it easier to integrate through a graphically driven approach of mapping, employing a canonical form (eventually XML) and leveraging agent-adapter technology.

All that to say - integration has been around, typically been hard and there's always space in the industry for a vendor that can deliver on the promise of making integration easier...which is exactly what Cast Iron has done through their appliance based approach. About six years ago, there was a big push for appliances across a number of segments in IT - especially so in security - fueled by the idea that deploying a solution is as easy as plugging in an appliance into the network and configuring. Although not quite as easy as portrayed, Cast Iron's solution lowered the degree of difficulty and time to value significantly.

This acquisition makes sense, not only because Cast Iron can immediately lend value to IBM's ability to solve the enterprise integration problem, but for a far more strategic reason - the promise of cloud based integration hub. The challenge with appliance based integration systems is the minimal cost footprint. If you're an SMB with a tactical integration need, you want a low cost, easy to deploy solution. Enter stage right, the cloud-based integration hub and in the past year, Cast Iron has invested heavily to make it a reality. When it comes to cloud-based integration, they compete directly with Boomi and may have a little catching up to do. Perhaps the expertise, experience and deep pockets of IBM will help close the gap in a hurry.

Boomi's comeback? They will legitimately boast that they are built "ground-up" for a cloud based integration hub. When it comes to cloud based integration, Boomi may be more experienced and also further along at this stage. However, Cast Iron will offer the customer a choice of different approaches - appliance, something they call a "virtual appliance" and cloud based integration.

As I've written about previously, with the rise of SaaS into mainstream IT, integration actually becomes more important, not less - so stay tuned. Don't be surprised if there are more acquisitions in the future as larger companies eye the cloud-based integration arena.

1 Comment


have you looked at other providers like snaplogc.com and DBSync - www.mydbsync.com

They are competing offering in this space catching up to cast iron and like

Andre Yee blogs about cloud computing, SaaS, Web 2.0 and other emerging technologies that matter to businesses.

Andre Yee

Andre Yee is an entrepreneur and technologist with nearly 20 years of experience in the business of technology.

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