Don't get us wrong, continually delivering innovative products and services is the key to staying competitive in digital markets. But what good is a new application if it isn't well connected to the rest of your legacy technology? What's more, how long before it represents any real value for your business if integrating this new app with your existing architecture takes months or years?
The days of waterfall development cycles are over thanks to agile methods, DevOps, CI/CD automations, and the rest of your favorite IT buzzwords, but this increase in developer productivity isn’t the end of the story. Innovation needs integration, and it needs it at a speed that matches your current development practices.
Red Hat believes that a distributed and iterative integration architecture, rather than a centralized and siloed one, can bring agility to your infrastructure, not just your app dev. What exactly does that involve? An architectural framework that aligns containerized microservices, hybrid cloud, and application programming interfaces (APIs) with the agile and DevOps practices that developers know well.
Although it represented a step forward from the days of a few point-to-point or hub-and-spoke connections, the enterprise service bus (ESB) was intended for rigid, siloed infrastructures. This traditional approach to integration, with centralized teams controlling monolithic technologies, can impede the development and long-term usefulness of newer, distributed applications. ESBs have benefits like prioritizing security and data integrity, but they also rely on a single team to define integrations for the entire enterprise. Moreover, they represent a single point of failure for the integration architecture.
Instead, today's loosely coupled, cloud-native application architectures developed through agile and DevOps methods need an equally agile and scalable approach to integration. You need these new applications to connect with each other; you also need them to be able to access your legacy applications and data. Red Hat supports both of these business needs by providing integration platforms and management software that let you rapidly connect legacy technologies and microservices across hybrid cloud environments. We call this approach "agile integration."
Red Hat's view of agile integration combines integration technologies, agile delivery techniques, and cloud-native platforms to improve the speed and security of software delivery. Specifically, agile integration involves deploying integration technologies like APIs into Linux containers and extending integration roles to cross-functional teams.
In this framework, microservices can be rapidly developed and rapidly integrated. With integrations built with the Red Hat Build of Apache Camel (included with a Red Hat® Application Foundations subscription) and APIs managed through Red Hat 3scale API Management, microservices can essentially get "dropped into" your existing architecture seamlessly, so they start providing value to internal and external users quickly. To share data within your infrastructure, Red Hat AMQ facilitates messaging with high throughput and low latency. Updating or removing services no longer run the risk of breaking the entire app, since a loosely coupled architecture connected through agile integration processes has increased fault tolerance.
In short, agile integration changes enterprise integration from a problem that must be overcome, to a platform for elastic scalability across decentralized services.
Problem: UPS, a global leader in logistics, wanted to optimize package operations and delivery using a new application platform, called the Center Inside Planning and Execution System (CIPE). In addition, the company wanted to adopt a more agile, collaborative DevOps approach—and technology that would support both CIPE’s new capabilities and this new work method. "We needed to move from our old technologies to the cloud, to make better decisions using real-time, big data analytics," said Rich West, senior application development manager at UPS.
Solution: After deciding that container technology would best meet its needs for agile, cloud-based workflows, UPS evaluated many solutions. It chose to create its new application environment with enterprise open source technology from Red Hat. In addition, UPS used Red Hat Consulting to help plan and deploy CIPE. "They also quickly trained our developers on container platform technology," said Stacie Morgan, senior application development manager at UPS. "We were able to launch the first iteration of the site application in 3 months. We’ve never brought up a platform that quickly."
Insights and innovations are happening at a faster rate than ever before. It’s an exciting time at UPS, and Red Hat technologies have played a major role in our journey.