By Tony Curcio, Senior Offering Director, Hybrid Integration, IBM


For many years there were clear lines that defined the integration technology space. When organizations needed to integrate their systems of record, they turned to application integration patterns, mostly notably the ESB. Organizations that were pursuing analytics projects recognized the power of extract transfer loads (ETL) as well aligned to that objective. Similarly, there were well-established domains for technologies like data virtualization, data federation, and service oriented architecture (SOA). Ah… the good ole days.

The face of integration is changing and that change is being driven by the needs of the business. One such example is the shift to cloud – either driven by cost optimization to improve the bottom line or recognizing the opportunity to build more agile business solutions. While cloud solutions have many of the same integration needs as their predecessors on premise – connectivity, transformation, cleansing – they also introduce a new set of requirements.

Take, for instance, a cloud solution where a primary data source is in the corporate data center. The solution needs secure connectivity through the firewall. It also needs to account for additional latencies that may exist, since the data doesn’t share locality with the cloud application. The IT professional may think “Perhaps parts of the integration workflow should run in the data center and another part in the cloud in order to optimize the performance.” Or “ if we draw out that solution further, we may also insert a requirement to access these integration functions through APIs.” This pattern of thinking and implementation is greatly accelerating as organizations are building out their mobile app strategy or building access layers for a growing partner network.

If businesses are to be successful in the face of these shifts, the enterprise must be equipped to adapt to these changing conditions. IBM has defined this agenda as “hybrid integration”. We strongly believe that hybrid is the future of integration. Hybrid Integration covers four key areas:

Hybrid User Communities – Integration is needed by both IT as well as line of business (LOB) users who are adopting integration tooling to automate application interactions

Hybrid Connectivity– Integration reaches across secure connections to access data in the cloud or access data from the cloud

Hybrid Integration Styles – Combining APP, API and data to apply the optimal technology at the best time for any cloud solution

Hybrid Deployment – Cloud based solutions will rely on components being available on premise and in cloud data centers

IBM has been delivering new and innovative features for hybrid integration as part of this agenda. For instance, in 2015 we launched a common new feature in both Integration Bus and Cast Iron that allows these integration engines to easily publish a flow directly to IBM API Management. This product interaction supports the “hybrid integration styles” agenda by allowing companies to use the integration tooling to easily build flows with connections to core applications and provide the transformations required – all without coding. This is a highly efficient model for fueling the API economy and several customers will be sharing success stories that model this pattern at our upcoming Interconnect conference.

Today IBM is announcing another dimension to our Hybrid Integration agenda by simplifying how easily customers can acquire the range of modular integration components they need. This new offering is called IBM Application Integration Suite and offers application integration, cloud connectivity, and API management features under one part number. This offering is well-aligned to customers who are pursuing API economy and/or Cloud Applications and need integration tooling at the heart of their solution. We believe this is among the simplest and most cost effective offerings in the market to help our customers achieve their digital transformation goals. You can read more about this announcement here.

If you are coming to the Interconnect conference in Vegas this month, there are a variety of sessions discussing the Hybrid Integration agenda and roadmap, including the new Application Integration Suite. You may also be interested to hear more about our “Hybrid User Persona” agenda and the beta offering focused on enabling the LOB users of integration tooling. This product is known as IBM App Connect, and offers a very streamlined integration model and new innovations that greatly simplify connectivity in order to lower the bar so that anyone can be an integrator. Look out for my next blog post that explores IBM App Connect in more detail, or follow @IBMIntegration for more information.

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