Hybrid cloud environments are disrupting how organizations solve the integration problem. This article looks at how an integration platform-as-a-service can bridge the gap between cloud and on-premises applications. It also demonstrates how APIs are being adopted as a new mechanism for integration within an organization as well as with partners.
The challenges of hybrid cloud
Hybrid cloud environments are the new normal. By that I mean, it is the rare organization that only hosts their applications and data within the confines of their own on-premises data centers. Unless they are unable to do so due to regulations or privacy, organizations today are almost certainly using public or private cloud infrastructures to host their own applications; not to mention the dramatic rise in the number of cloud-based applications that are being adopted by these companies every day.
In fact, even those organizations who believe they have a relatively small footprint of cloud applications may be surprised to discover exactly how many Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications have snuck past the IT gatekeepers into the business. Analysts estimate that there are more than 2500 SaaS applications and more than 14,000 public APIs in use by enterprises today.
Hybrid cloud environments require strategies to be put in place for two areas: hybrid integration and Application Programming Interface (API) adoption.
As I mentioned above, there are literally thousands of enterprise-class SaaS applications in use today, with more being deployed all the time. While many of these applications can stand on their own, many, especially mission critical ones, cannot. These applications require the use of data from systems of record that have lived in data centers perhaps for decades.
If yours is like most organizations, you probably have 90 percent of your critical data—data that lives in your systems of record applications such as ERP and CRM applications—behind the firewall. This data is often needed in the SaaS applications your lines of business are adopting.
webMethods Integration Cloud, Software AG's cloud-based integration Platform-as-a-Service (iPaaS), is designed to help organizations tackle the hybrid integration challenge. webMethods Integration Cloud is broadening its hybrid integration capabilities to include:
- Enhanced service orchestration. This release makes it possible to create more sophisticated integrations. The new graphical user interface is powerful enough to build complex integrations yet easy enough to be used by non-integration experts.
- Lightweight integration agents. We’ve added new lightweight integration agents to make it possible for users to integrate their applications directly with their partners’ applications, as well as to integrate with on-premises applications without requiring the footprint of a full Enterprise Service Bus (ESB).
- Wider connectivity. In addition to new application connectors (see below), the new SOAP connector enables you to consume 3rd party SOAP services. And the new FTP/FTPS connector enables you to import and export a wide range of files.
- New application connectors. We are adding new application connectors to applications such as Microsoft Dynamics® CRM, Magento®, and Zuora®.
Introducing webMethods API Cloud
Along with the changes in integration driven by the rise of hybrid cloud environments, organizations are also adopting APIs for integration, both internally as well as externally to their organizations. APIs and microservices are the latest trends in IT architectures and offer new ways for organizations to tie systems together, as well as build new applications on top of existing logic and data.
To make the adoption of APIs easier for companies, Software AG is launching an API development portal called webMethods API Cloud. webMethods API Cloud is a fully cloud-hosted service that provides the following capabilities:
- API documentation. To drive adoption of your APIs, even within your own organization, your developer community needs to understand what your APIs offer and how they work. Within API Cloud, you can provide rich descriptions of the APIs, examples of how to use the APIs, file attachments for additional documentation and information about policies enforced on the API level.
- Security. API security is critical and managed through the use of API keys and OAuth2 credentials support. Your developers can request onboarding and access tokens directly within the portal.
- REST and SOAP support. API Cloud supports REST services, which are becoming increasingly popular in both mobile and Web applications, and SOAP services, which are common for companies who have championed SOA initiatives and may have many services that can be exposed for use as APIs
- API testing. Developers can easily try out APIs directly within webMethods API Cloud to see firsthand how the API behaves. The portal offers a way to expose code samples to simplify adoption.
- Analytics and monitoring. API Cloud provides analytics within the portal to better understand your users, APIs and the portal itself.
Whatever approach your organization is considering, it's clear that you will need to evaluate both the challenges that will come with a more complex hybrid environment, as well as the tools you will need to be able to tackle those challenges.
In October 2015, Software AG is launching its newest cloud service, webMethods API Cloud. Find out more by visiting www.webMethodsCloud.com/api.
To learn more about webMethods Integration Cloud, including how to sign up for a free 30 day trial, visit www.webMethodsCloud.com.