The integration glue named middleware is also highly customised for the business domains, and highly skilled professional consulting services are playing crucial role. This is the catch of the cloud high speed highway, where the business applications magically work without the overbearing infrastructure cost inspiring many.
Integration infrastructure is usually the third party product from the preferred vendor. It is required to implement the Enterprise Service Bus concept in the organisation, and is responsible for the information transitions between the business systems. It may live on premises as usually it is the case, but more and more cloud implementations are happening outside the organisations.
There are two ways to deploy new integration hub in cloud, such as standard setup in the cloud hosted and virtualised or containerised environment, or use recently developed light versions of the integration components that come pre-installed within the integration vendor clouds. These cloud optimised integration nodes provide simplified web-based interface to develop and deploy the integration components. The preference is usually made based on the trust and traditional way of doing things, but in any case, the vanilla integration setup is now available in the cloud. For the existing infrastructure migration to the cloud the first option with the original integration product seems natural and less involved.
With the maturing concept of the hybrid cloud the line between on-premises and remotely hosted architectures gradually disappears, ultimately being the subject to the available, secure and affordable network bandwidth and organisations outsourcing strategy. Ultimately the cloud is all about the outsourcing, starting with the storage, operating system and services platform, in this case iPaaS. The computer resources come with the people’ skills to complete the cloud offerings.
However, the integration infrastructure in it’ vanilla form is just a base for iPaaS that business needs to integrate the application domains. Ideally the integration products vendors that are hosting their products in their own cloud environment, are the best choice for the businesses interested in the cloud outsourcing. Again, this transformation will likely happen with the fast and secure network for the businesses willing to outsource the enterprise critical components.
But like in real life, the truth of the matter is often different. The integration hub has become the core part of the business with the peculiar objects mappings, specific messaging patterns and deployment procedures. Most applications changes require the complementary changes in the integration components, and both are increasingly becoming part of the fashioned movement of the enterprise and solution continuum such as development, deployment and optimisation. The continuum is the particular style of the information services, when the coding occurs less and code propagation more, so the developers as well do the deployments in the environment configured for the code building automation.
This movement started in the midrange for the fourth generation languages and web scripts, but now it is more extending to the legacy systems such as mainframes that are also part of the universal or hybrid clouds. The mainframes and big UNIX machines come with their own protocols, screens scraping and data exchange programs. They integrate across the rest of the world via the brokered messaging and web services. New pc interfaces were written for the far end development to enable the automated information services. The messaging and services calls cannot exist by itself because require special infrastructure that is traditionally named middleware. Different technologies implement middleware solutions while complying to the middleware protocols standards that define the exchanged information structure, messaging patterns, communication conventions, security, compression and many other things.
This brings the issue back to the people and their skills behind all these integration and automation. These people need to understand the business domain and applications API, the integration scenarios that are specific to the business uses cases, and certainly insure the availability and secure data interchange. Perhaps in future, more such skills will be outsourced to the cloud, but right now these are mostly on premised where the integration hubs are operating. It takes dedicated vendors to specialise in the niche of the integration products. These integration services vendors are becoming more cloud literate to move the enterprise component out of the premises to provide efficient integration to the distributed business domains. Their main responsibilities are impact analysis, integration components optimisation through better design and integration products improvement, performance and security.
The integration products vendors do rapidly move to containerisation which seems simplifies the infrastructure, however as easy it seems to build and deploy containers in cloud or on premises or elsewhere, these containers require the core infrastructure to be production operational at it’ best. The way of software is to use other software, in this case it is the infrastructure template from which the containers are created and stored in the repositories to be propagated as cloud contained software images. These images are instantiated, executed, clustered, monitored, optimised and eventually replaced by the improved versions of itself.
New business requirements, defects rectifications and technical improvements are managed by the integration services specialists for whom the public cloud or customer environment is the platform of practical choice or customer preference. In other words, they are concern about their integration products implementation at first and this will unlikely change in future. With the cloud taking more space across the information technologies, for the integration technologists it always will be a workspace, a product and a customer with their unique requirements. Their skills will be diversified by the cloud adoption, as it currently diversified by the hardware and operating platforms on which integration products are hosted. But the core skills for the integration technologies, it’ capabilities, scalability, availability, security and portability will remain as it was since the times of the mainframes.
It does not occur too often building new middleware solutions, but more analysing the already exciting infrastructure to identify and rectify the problems, would that be just development bugs or bad design. It occurs to some that changing old code requires more creativity then writing new. As the configuration templates and visual aids are replacing the coding language, the configuration is code, and the logic will always be the part of the information processing. The only way to minimise the coding is to leverage on the already written legacy modules by the means of the middleware implemented across the hybrid clouds of the organisations and their partners. Middleware allows to accelerate the digitalisation of the enterprises activities by replacing the business code writing with the business domains integration. Integration services vendors provide the middleware solutions for the business domains across business, technical and hosting platforms. The quality of their work determine the roadmap of the information services outsourcing into the cloud.