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paas Authors: Pat Romanski, Mehdi Daoudi, Elizabeth White, Stackify Blog, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: eCommerce Journal, Social CRM, Platform as a Service

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iPaaS – Integration Platform as a Service | @CloudExpo #Cloud

Gartner describes iPaaS as 'a suite of cloud services enabling development, execution and governance of integration flows'

Gartner describes iPaaS as:

“a suite of cloud services enabling development, execution and governance of integration flows connecting any combination of on premises and cloud-based processes, services, applications and data within individual or across multiple organizations.”

Their Magic Quadrant, which can be downloaded courtesy of Mulesoft, defines

  1. Service Description: What qualifies as a true Cloud service, iPaaS Functionality.
  2. Use Cases and Buying Centers: iPaaS primarily addresses a need for Cloud Service Integration integrating on-premises applications and data, with SaaS and other Cloud services.
  3. Market Trends: Gartner has identified at least 30 iPaaS vendors and anticipates a highly competitive market, with key growth sectors like IoT Integrations
  4. Vendor Analysis: Strengths and Cautions of 16 iPaaS vendor offerings, such as Microsoft, IBM, Mulesoft, Dell and others..
Market Sizings

Download: Global iPaaS Market Executive Summary

This free report summary describes that:

  • The market will grow from $191.4 million in 2014 to $949.8 million by 2019
  • In 2014 iPaaS had a 11.57% share in the global PaaS market; the share will increase to 15.32% by 2019
  • iPaaS is widely adopted by organizations involved in e-commerce, where it reduces operational expenditures and enables fast app deployments


The research report defines iPaaS as:

“An iPaaS solution attends to the development, execution, and governance of the integration process for on-premise or cloud-based applications, and it includes batch and real-time integration services, an application programming interface (API) framework, master data management (MDM), data quality tools, and security measures. In addition, most iPaaS vendors provide maps and other necessities to boost the development process and help organizations with related requirements.”

iPaaS Vendor Capability Map
The research report and Gartner MQ identify the following list of iPaaS vendors:

Dell Boomi – Rated a Gartner MQ Leader. Via Dell acquisition of Boomi. Clients praise ease of developer productivity.

Informatica iPaaS – Also rated a MQ Leader. Leverages a history in on-premise data integration solutions.

Adaptris Cirrus – Offers an ‘Interlok’ framework that combines integration brokerage services.

Attunity CloudBeam – Available through the Amazon marketplace for loading and synchronizing data involving on-premises DBMSs and Amazon Redshift, EC2 and RDS environments.

Celigo Integrator – Specializes in-depth around the Netsuite SaaS, offering ‘SmartConnectors’ and packaged composite apps.

Cloud Elements – A set of “canonical” RESTful APIs, each providing a specific use case (for example CRM, documents or finance), then pre-mapped to SaaS like Salesforce, SugarCRM or Zoho.

Flowgear – Offers a hybrid combination of Azure-based and in-house data centre hosting.

Fujitsu RunMyProcess – Provides combined iPaaS and business process management platform as a service (bpmPaaS) capabilities, hosted in Amazon AWS or Fujitsu IaaS, with connectors to on-premises apps and Cloud services, and supporting process modeling and orchestration, composite applications and adaptive application development.

IBM Cast Iron Live – IBM’s iPaaS offering is delivered through a shared-everything multi-tenant architecture deployed across multiple data centres operated by SoftLayer.

Jitterbit Harmony – Amazon EC2-based integration of diverse Cloud, mobile, social and on-premise environments, and life cycle management of integration projects and processes. Harmony hub solutions for ISVs and SaaS providers are offered to enhance market channels and leverage of prebuilt templates for CSI.

Microsoft Azure BizTalk Services – Technology that is being refactored in 2015 into a set of independent services which will be components in a new integrated application platform that will include Web and mobile services, a cloud orchestration engine, an application services ecosystem, API management, a hosting environment and BizTalk application services (ABS refactored).

Mulesoft CloudHub – The PaaS component of their Anypoint platform.

SAP Hana Cloud Integration – Part of the SAP Enterprise Cloud suite.

Snaplogic Elastic iPaaS – A modular platform of “Snaps”, adapters to SaaS, on-premise applications and data stores that form pipelines where data is exchanged through JSON. This modular architecture is conducive to extensibility and building of a partner ecosystem.

TerraSky SkyOnDemand – An advanced graphical design approach featuring more than 900 modeling icons freeing subscribers from the need to learn a new programming language.

Youredi – A multi-tenant iPaaS built on Microsoft Azure, specializing in logistics and financial transaction integration sectors.

Detailed VCM analysis to follow.

futuristic display: Cloud computing touchscreen interface

Cloud Solution Design

Hybrid iPaaS Solution Scenarios
With an iPaaS providing this essential glue function it can often play a central role in configuring dynamic new Cloud solutions.

For example in their report ‘How To Use Hybrid Integration Platforms Effectively‘, Gartner describe how a large pharmaceutical company utilized this approach to rapidly develop online portals for doctors, that linked together web communities running on Drupal, new mobile applications and back-end legacy systems, a combination common to most if not all enterprise scenarios these days.

This modular architecture is ideal for both customer and Cloud provider. For example an alternative CMS like WordPress could be swapped out and used instead, a common application most hosts will offer along with Drupal.

They also made use of a Cloud identity service for authentication, highlighting how these solutions are now built through a combination of internal systems and also calling upon remote application services. This ability to orchestrate remote as well as local applications is the key dynamic for modern e-service design.

Roadmap: Digital Services Architecture
This approach can be used in any industry for the same common requirements, with Identity consistently playing this keystone role and along with other design components articulating a ‘Digital Services Reference Architecture’, one of the design goals of our Roadmap.

For example in the UK public sector the OIX, the Identity federation body that provides the assurance framework for GOV.UK Verify, define how need for an iPaaS functionality called “Data Matching” has emerged from their early Identity integration work, in their white paper Data Matching in the Identity Ecosystem, where they identify:

“Adoption of an external digital identity asserted by the users Identity Provider requires the organisation to ‘match’ the identity details to customer records within its own systems. Previous Open Identity Exchange projects in Warwickshire and South Yorkshire have shown this to be a complex task because systems that hold customer records have different technical and data standards.

There is opportunity to reduce much of this complexity by developing data matching standards that any systems operator can deploy through a ‘Matching Service’. The service will allow a government standard digital identity to be linked to existing customer records at much lower cost than if each organisation develops its own bespoke approach.

This matching service functionality allows the SPs to say that the “John Smith” presenting himself for a transaction is the same “John Smith” that they hold already on file in a locally hosted database. Data matching is a requirement of the identity ecosystem. Without a matching service the identity ecosystem cannot function.”

This also includes defining the need for an identity addressing scheme that facilitates a persistent identifier:

“A persistent identifier (PID) can be defined as an identifier that is unique to a user and an identity provider. It’s generated by the identity provider and is present in assertions in order to identify the user that the assertion refers to within that single IdP.”

This matching process is common to enterprise middleware and integration tool sets, but layering it on top of and building it into the Identity authentication process is an evolutionary step, and will see the Cloud itself come to act as middleware.

Case Study – Estonia’s X-Road: iPaaS in Action
A reference case study example of iPaaS in action for government, including this Data Matching-as-a-Service functionality is Estonia’s X-Road system, described in detail in this documentation.

The X-Road is the implemented Digital Services Reference Architecture that enables world-leading Digital Government services for the nation.

As this NY Times piece demonstrates Estonia is starting to command a global reputation as a technology pioneer for online government services, and the two main moving parts are an integration engine and an identity-centric design model.

Estonia utilizes a national identity card embedded with a microship that requires a unique PIN to unlock for each citizen, which then ties in with the X-Road.

“X-Road is the backbone of e-Estonia. It’s the invisible yet crucial environment that allows the nation’s various e-services databases, both in the public and private sector, to link up and operate in harmony.”

With government running hundreds if not thousands of applications a ‘hard coded’ approach, where each API link is coded directly and maintained individually, can become impractical and hard to scale.

This then highlights the role of the PaaS layer as ‘middleware’, a set of applications specifically integrated to act as a broker to multiple applications so that developers can ‘write once use many’.

As the diagram and name suggests this acts as a “cross roads” between applications, a common highway for exchanging data rather than applications being wired directly together, engendering more flexibility and easier maintenance for the developers.

Key highlights include:

  • X-road core technology has been used in Estonia since 2002.
  • Over 170 databases of their services over X-Road in Estonia.
  • Over 2,000 services are used over X-Road in Estonia.
  • Over 900 organisations use X-Road daily in Estonia.
  • More than 50% of the inhabitants of Estonia use X-Road through the information portal eesti.ee.
  • In 2013 over 287 million queries were done over X-road.

Conclusion
Estonia’s X-Road is a clear and compelling use case solution for iPaaS for one industry, directly enabling the strategic outcome of increasingly mature Digital Government services.

This same model can be repeated for other industries and yield the same results, and so is an ideal solution service for Cloud providers to offer, one with a market that will grow from $200 to $900m by 2019.

Furthermore as a middleware component that maximizes the value of other hosted products, like WordPress and Drupal, it can also grow sales of complimentary services too.

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