We have been doing application and data integration for 20+ years. Why? Siloed applications and data need to be connected to synchronize data between applications, complete and automate business processes and improve efficiencies. Technologies like the enterprise service bus (ESB), managed file transfer (MFT), message brokers, integration platform as a service (iPaaS) have been used to solve integration requirements. Today as organizations pursue competitive advantage and differentiation through software and adopt digital services, integration has become a strategic capability. Integration is pervasive and critical for digital business as it connects new applications, existing applications, data and devices to create innovative, differentiated solutions. Evolving customer engagement models, new customer experiences, and competitive service delivery models are powered by integration.
Integration in application environment
Key transformations in technology, software architecture and software delivery have elevated the role and importance of integration in application development and to the rearchitecting of the old monolithic integration solutions into a set of middleware services that developers can easily incorporate into applications. In the era of digital services, applications are distributed, spanning infrastructures and cloud environments. Application creators need to create quickly and frequently iterate. They need tools and application infrastructure that enables them with this increased agility. The success (or failure) of a new service or application depends on its ability to communicate with other services, across any infrastructure, in scalable secure ways. Application components must be composable, must be deployable across cloud and hybrid environments and must interoperate to deliver value. Applications must be able to connect to existing data, new SaaS apps, custom apps, IoT data and more. Integration is essential to realizing these architectures. This world is your application environment. The context of systems, services, applications, infrastructures, clouds where your software innovation happens. Integration has become a central part and key enabler of application creation. A first-order consideration in building solutions.
As application developers adopt microservices style architectures and DevOps practices to create rapid, incremental innovations, container-based infrastructure is key to deliver these services. Cloud-native applications take full advantage of the container platform to create scalable, resilient and iterative services. An application environment requires a common set of standards, practices, capabilities that are "engineered together" to develop, test and deploy cloud-native applications. In a robust application environment, cloud-native integration capabilities, are container-based, API-centric, distributable, and composable as microservices. Application developers can easily include the integration capabilities as part of their toolsets and practices. This allows application developers, integration developers, and citizen integrators to all participate in delivering adaptive and innovative services.
Roughly two years ago we introduced the concept of agile integration which is based on 3 key capabilities distributed integration, APIs and containers. The agile Integration technologies and architectural approach are foundational to realizing an application environment that meets the needs of modern software-driven organizations.
What is an application environment? Check out this blog by Middleware VP and GM, Mike Piech.