Integration has always been a heavy lift in enterprise IT. Applications developed between the 1960s and the 1980s were monolithic, siloed behemoths. Their creators never gave a thought to connecting one to another. Architectures were product-specific. User interfaces, proprietary. And the easiest way to move data from one system to another was to print it in one place and manually re-enter the information in another.
By the 1990s, organizations were struggling with the proliferation of point-to-point integrations, which confused operators as they worked to keep everything running and confounded developers who worried any small change would bring the entire system crashing down. Something had to give.
By the late 90s, a whole new enterprise infrastructure category had emerged: middleware. Middleware addressed the tangled issues of point-to-point integrations with a hub-and-spoke architecture. And then along came the cloud. And DevOps. And eventually, the cloud-native computing we’re all accustomed to today.
Rethinking the Heavy Lift
As cloud solutions gained traction, middleware-centric approaches to integration quickly became staggeringly obsolete. But the archaic hub-and-spoke approach still persists among modern enterprise integrations, slowing organizations down and limiting their agility — and by extension, their ability to compete.
It’s time for a change. Enterprises today require integration able to support an application landscape that’s responding quickly to changes in customer expectations, competitive environments and technological capabilities.
Because integration has always been such a significant challenge, the standard approach has typically been a “one and done” effort. The idea was that the most logical approach for such a difficult task was to pick your battles, take as much time as needed to find a solution and then leave them alone for as long as possible.
A New Integration Strategy
But there’s a new integration strategy today, based on an entirely different approach and updated priorities.
A cloud-native infrastructure leverages microservices and containers in addition to traditional virtualization and serverless functions for inherently dynamic, massively scalable application environments.
Kubernetes — the world’s foremost open-source container orchestration platform — is at the core of most of today’s cloud-native environments, but cloud-native isn’t just about running on Kubernetes. It’s an architectural paradigm for enterprise computing, taking a configuration-driven approach to all aspects of the infrastructure.
|What it means for your enterprise: The flexibility to support integration among dynamic endpoints of various types empowers your organization to rapidly scale capacity up and down based on end-user demands, and your company gains the ability to integrate applications of different importance and urgency levels.|
|An effective integration platform also empowers a range of team members with varying technical expertise to deploy and configure integrations.|
Tools that provide these capabilities are often referred to as low-code, meaning most work can take place in visual, drag-and-drop interfaces that don’t require hand-coding. (Some situations may still call for hand-coding, but this requirement should minimize the number and type of situations where these advanced skills are required.)
|What it means for your enterprise: This democratization of application creation and integration fosters enhanced collaboration between IT experts and line-of-business users.|
Comprehensive Life Cycle
Today’s integration solutions should also handle the full life cycle of integrations. Where middleware consists entirely of runtime technology, an integration platform for the digital age should include design and development capabilities (low-code, of course) as well as functionality to support the operations team as they manage integration production.
The ops functionality is especially critical, since today’s platform must support dynamic integration capabilities — in other words, support changing integrations as endpoints evolve. (Managing these integrations requires more focus than the static integrations of the middleware era.)
|What it means for your enterprise: Senior developers, who often face high demands on their time, are freed up to focus on eliminating application backlogs and developing new innovations, while line-of-business staff become more self-sufficient.|
Unlocking New Application Value
The days of architects carefully selecting which applications would most benefit from integration are gone. Today’s organizations have the power to integrate the full spectrum of their applications — from the most mission-critical enterprise-class to the low-profile departmental applications, and everything in between.
This shift in paradigm doesn’t take place in a vacuum. It’s an integral part of the digital transformation trend that includes cloud-native infrastructure, low-code technologies and dynamic software lifecycle approaches. In the digital world, everything connects to everything else. And today’s integration solutions offer the power to make these connections and provide more value than ever before.
System integrations don’t have to be the arduous, daunting journey they once were. Our innovative enterprise integration platform-as-a-service is more efficient than any other solution on the market, and empowers team members of all skill levels to create integrations quickly and easily, without compromising performance or security.
|To learn more about the Digibee integration platform, request a demo today.|
Copyright © Intellyx LLC. Digibee is an Intellyx customer. Intellyx retains final editorial control of this article.
Jason Bloomberg is the President of Intellyx.