I've been doing system integration for more than 16 years.
15 of those I've been involved with on-premise integration solutions. For the most part, it's been lot of interesting projects, several new technologies to explore and utilize, but also sometimes frustration. Very often moments of frustrations have been caused by infrastructure related issues, such as installation environments and firewalls. With legacy tools almost half of the project's time has been spent before the infrastructure configurations are ready for development and testing to start.
Beginning of 2014 I started to work at Youredi and became gradually familiar with cloud-based integration; Youredi integration platform as a service (iPaaS) software, to be more specific. The most recent year has been very enlightening time for me. Even though basic concept of integration is still the same - automate inter or intra company business processes - Youredi platform surely brings along some changes … changes that I have found absolutely positive.
With legacy tools almost half of the project's time has been spent before the infrastructure configurations are ready
Couple of examples how Youredi platform is different:
Business case was collecting sensor measurement data and storing it to the cloud-based data store. The development included following steps:
1. Implement Youredi process that
a) Validates received xml format sensor message
b) Checks whether message is in fact an alarms that needs to forwarded immediately designated recipients using email
c) Stores the received message in raw format to the data store. In this case the data store was Azure SQL database, but it might as well could have been Azure Storage or Hadoop cluster if Big Data type of approach would have been desirable
2. Publish implemented Youredi process as a REST service for sensors (gateways) to invoke
3. Configure sensors (gateways) with correct URL and authentication parameters and start posting sensor events to published REST endpoint.
It took less than two hours to implement this. As a result we have automatically scalable integration solution - both from the performance and data storage point of view - ready to collect sensor-originated measurement and handle alarm messages. And after the data is collected to the database it can be cleaned, filtered, aggregated, transformed and delivered, for example, to analytics system for further processing.
Change management during UAT testing
In the middle of UAT testing phase customer informed us that the location of the one of the source systems had changed to completely different network. To make things even more challenging firewalls configurations would have taken several days, and yet, in order to stay with the original project schedule, we needed to continue testing without major delay.
With on-premise integration software situation would have been more than challenging. With Youredi all we needed to do was to reinstall adapter to a new location and configure it to interact with the new source system - luckily system interface was the same. In addition, since Youredi adapter requires only SSL outbound firewall port to be open in order to communicate with the Youredi cloud platform, there was no need to cause anxiety to network admins either. End result: it took about 10 minutes to reinstall adapter, configure it to interact with the new source system after which Youredi process in the cloud was again able read data from source system and we were able to continue testing - no need to make any changes or redeployments on cloud side.
Just a couple of examples how cloud can make it easier to manage complex world of integration... and new examples spring up almost every day.