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System integration in the future

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When I was young my best friend and I played a cowboy game. After shooting the villain, he would fall to the ground and say, “bury me with my money”. No, I am not going to do that. If I went through all this trouble to kill the bad guy, I would keep his money. Like the bad guy, one on-premise application after another falls down. Some disappear without a trace – dead and buried – other manage to escape to the cloud. But what about on the integration side?

The big integration platforms with many integrations were announced as dead due to advances in devops and micro-service architecture. That was no longer the way you were supposed to work. It was frustrating to go through a slow central IT-function and purchasing an expensive license when your own application developers could solve the problem for you.

In the beginning there weren’t many options for devops teams and in some cases, they went back to the classic bad way of doing integration, to build the integration logic within your application. But quickly many alternatives were made available in the cloud. Many of these advances meant that you coded your integration, except that the code was outside of your application. That also made it possible to build common components to quickly integrate. Finally, you had recreated the integration platform. What if there was a good way to combine the classical integration platform thinking and modern micro-service architecture?

IBM thought about that for their integration platform products. To modernize the framework for their data center products, they did the following:

  • Made the installation component based, so you only install what you need and optimize the products, so they start quicker.
  • Started supporting Docker, Kubernetes and other modern infrastructure frameworks.
  • Decoupled applications from one another, for example IBM MQ and App Connect Enterprise are no longer required to be installed in the same place.
  • And finally simplified the license model so that devops teams can run IBM’s professional products without requiring a whole new budget.

Migrating from the old data centers to the cloud is challenging. Applications must be modernized otherwise the cloud is just another data center with added questions about security and integrity. That is one of the many reasons many still remain on-premises.

With the modernization that has been done, those who still run things on-premise start to work with devops and deliver integration faster The new way of thinking makes it possible to build on-premise and then move to the cloud seamlessly when you are ready. So, the integration platform hasn’t dropped down yet. It lives and apparently it is not the bad guy we thought it was, but the hero that we needed.

Read more about how to best face the challenges with modern integration in the next part; Long live integration.

If you want to learn more about open source development with Kubernetes, RedHat and IBM OpenShift one of our webinars is available for download. A complete overview of our offering within integration can be found here.

Salih Serdenak
Consultant Integration