Earlier this months at the Gartner ITxpo event, Massimo Pezzini presented the challenges that must be addressed by a pervasive enterprise integration strategy. In summary there are four types of hybrid challenges (see Massimo’s diagram below).
An integration solution needs to be able to address different user personas with appropriate user experiences. Most notably “Integration Specialists” need to be able to have access to maximum integration capabilities on a code level. “Citizen integrators” are typically business users who should be able to achieve integrations as well by using easy to use graphical user experiences (like IFTTT).
A key component of an integration solution is a library of predefined integration templates, patterns, and adapters that allow the composition of rich integration logic flows. The wheel does not have to be re-invented. Many integration scenarios are often very similar, a lot of which are collected and described in the book Enterprise Integration Patterns. A wide range of different integration use cases must be able to be covered including app-to-app (A2A), business-to-business (B2B), integration between different cloud environments, apps and services deployed on different clouds, or integrations specifically for mobile or IoT enablement.
A further challenge refers to the ability to integrate with different types of endpoints. An endpoint here refers to the location where a service or application resides. The diversity of characteristics of such endpoints is growing especially with the advent of compute-enabled things such as sensors in IoT scenarios, apps in cars, or home appliances.
Applications, services, data, and the integrations between these need to physically be hosted somewhere. That is traditionally on-premise in an organisation’s data center, but is now more and more moving into public or private clouds. Furthermore integration capabilities may also be embedded in other products or services. A mix of these is referred to as a hybrid deployment model and an integration solution needs to support all. Ideally the solution is also capable of moving workloads or integrations around between different deployment environments.
Agile Integration to tackle hybrid integration strategy challenges
Agile integration addresses hybrid integration challenges with an architectural approach centered around application programming interfaces (APIs) and API management. Agile integration leverages agile methods as we know it from software engineering for the purpose of rapidly integrating diverse applications and data, with a focus on scalability, reusability, and flexibility across hybrid deployment models.
At its core, agile integration resides on the three pillars: Distributed integration for greater flexibility, containers for the ability to scale better, and managed APIs for re-usability and hence speed.
The diagram above depicts the concept with the three pillars, which reside on a solid basis that also covers aspects like culture, processes, tools and automation that allow agile practices to be deployed successfully. On top of the three pillars, agile integration also foresees capabilities to establish consistent consumer channels such as mobile or IoT enablement, the ability to build enterprise applications, support business process management and allow effective data management and security.
To get more details, read our Digital Innovation Through Agile Integration whitepaper.