Application to Application Integration 

Application to Application Integration in the Cloud Era

Cloud applications such as Software as a Service (SaaS) and social media sites like Facebook and Twitter have become increasingly popular among enterprises for conducting day-to-day business, offering greater productivity, flexibility and scalability. Unfortunately, the growing usage of such web-based applications and services has led to the fragmentation and scattering of enterprise data into cloud silos across the Internet.

For enterprise cloud users, application to application integration is a high priority. This article takes a closer look at application to application integration for the cloud by discussing: (1) cloud to cloud integration; (2) cloud to enterprise integration; and (3) iPaaS (integration Platform as a Service) as a solution.

Cloud to Cloud Integration

A common cloud integration scenario among enterprise cloud users is cloud to cloud integration. This might involve two SaaS applications or a SaaS application and a social media site like Facebook or Twitter.

For instance, in order to ensure that client information is accurate and consistent across different departments, an interactive design firm uses cloud to cloud integration to synchronize data between a CRM application from Salesforce.com and an accounting application from Intuit. In another scenario, a specialty clothing e-commerce company integrates automated marketing software from Marketo with customer feedback from Facebook and Twitter.

While the above application to application integration scenarios are relatively simple and can be resolved through point-to-point integration, scalability becomes an issue when enterprises procure multiple SaaS applications from different vendors. Each SaaS application needs to share data with every other SaaS application, but a point-to-point approach quickly becomes overly complicated and difficult to manage.

Cloud to Enterprise Integration

SaaS and other pay-as-you-go cloud applications offer significant cost savings, but they lose value if they are not integrated with legacy enterprise applications. In cloud to enterprise integration,cloud services are integrated with enterprise applications and data stores that reside behind the firewall.

For example, a consulting firm that uses cloud-based business execution software from SuccessFactors to manage employee performance and recruiting can increase efficiency by integrating it with its on-premises HR database. Similarly, a commercial equipment vendor can integrate its Salesforce.com CRM application with its back-end ERP system from SAP to enhance sales productivity.

In some cases, an enterprise may need to integrate a private cloud with a public cloud service. Whereas public cloud services (such as those offered by Salesforce.com, Intuit and SuccessFactors) are built, owned, and maintained by a third-party service provider, private cloud applications are typically built and maintained by in-house teams using virtual servers and web services. Since private cloud applications reside within the firewall, they often serve as stepping stones to public cloud computing for enterprises that are interested in improving scalability but are concerned about enterprise security.

Indeed, when it comes to cloud integration, security is a major concern. Enterprises want to be able to integrate public SaaS applications with legacy applications without compromising the security of their data. Firewall mediation is a must for any cloud to enterprise integration solution.

iPaaS: Application to Application Integration for the Cloud Era

For both cloud to cloud and cloud to enterprise scenarios, Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) represents the next generation of application to application integration. iPaaS is a robust cloud-based platform for building and running integrations in a simple and flexible way.

CloudHub is an iPaaS designed from the ground up to deliver scalable and secure integrations, both in the cloud and inside the firewall. CloudHub’s out-of-the-box cloud connectors turn cloud to cloud integration projects into simple configurations (no coding necessary) while its Secure Data Gateway (SDG Client) enables the integration and orchestration of cloud and enterprise applications through a secure data link.

In cloud to enterprise use cases, moreover, CloudHub supports both backend application integrations and user interface mashups. In backend integration, the SDG client receives a message from a SaaS application and forwards it to an on-premises application to retrieve data. In a user interface mashup, data from an on-premises application is integrated and displayed in a common browser. For example, ERP data from SAP can be displayed in a Salesforce.com page.

When it comes to application to application integration for the cloud, CloudHub delivers.

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