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We talk a lot on this blog about leveraging the cloud for application development, but there’s another side of the cloud coin which is just as important—data integration. It seems like an obvious use for the cloud, and when the overwhelming majority seems to agree that the cloud is good for business, you would think data integration would be better understood.
According to an Integration Developer News report, despite 92% CIOs agreeing that the cloud is good for business, 88% report challenges with SaaS applications—with the majority of those challenges surrounding data integration. When Lorraine Lawson was covering this for IT Business Edge , she singled out four “mistakes” enterprise IT typically makes when it comes to cloud data integration, but in my opinion, most of the issues stem from misunderstandings about what the cloud offers. This week, I wanted to unpack her 4 “mistakes” and offer some insight around these misconceptions.
It’s true—data integration platforms can be expensive. That doesn’t mean they aren’t worth it. The benefit of data integration is in taking data out of all of the individual silos created by your SaaS apps and putting them in a common, easily accessible location. This way, data can be shared between apps so your applications can work together in a suite rather than as separate, fractured experiences. This means a better experience for users and faster, more efficient development of new applications.
Taking these benefits into account, it is very likely that over time you’ll end up saving more time and money than you spend up front to implement the data integration system. And, if your solution is part of a fully-fledged Platform as a Service (PaaS) like Progress® Pacific™, you can have the added benefit of a rapid application development platform that makes the creation of SaaS applications and integrating their data easier than ever. This means even more savings down the line.
It’s natural to assume your needs are your own, and that no one-size-fits-all solution can sufficiently fill them. But when you run the numbers, you might be surprised to find out that the benefits of data integration are universal. It goes without saying that most data integration tools are customizable, and can be made to fit with your existing workflow with minimal reconfiguration.
If you are still unsure, it may be worth trying a tool before you buy it with a free trial to get a better idea of how it matches up with your needs.
It is also important to note that “data integration” refers to much more than just a series of cloud-based databases and the ability to move data between them. A good data integration platform will include super fast, secure connectivity to all your data sources, whether in your own network or on the cloud, and not require complex firewall reconfigurations. When you have easy access to all your data sources, you can fully leverage your information for analytics and in your SaaS applications.
Another pervasive myth about the cloud is that it is an all-or-nothing solution. A lot of the time, when people are talking about the cloud, they tend to be talking about the public cloud. That is, a cloud hosted on “public” off-site servers, like those offered by Amazon Web Services. This is often worrisome for organizations that deal with sensitive data or want tighter control and store their data close at hand on local servers that they have full control over.
It’s a valid concern, but luckily it has a solution—private and hybrid cloud deployment options. Pacific, for example, is able to run entirely on a private cloud, hosted on your own servers. It is also capable of hybrid deployments which are hosted jointly on private and public servers. By adopting a hybrid strategy, it is possible for you to slowly move your data into the cloud, or move only the data you want into that space. All of this means that you don’t need to jump right in when it comes to cloud data integration—you can start small and grow big, at your own pace.
What have been your biggest challenges around data integration in the cloud? What are some of the payoffs you’ve seen from moving to a cloud-based data integration approach? Post a comment below--I’d love to hear from you to understand your particular situation.
As the senior director of product marketing and strategy for the Progress solutions and audience marketing team, Paul Nashawaty keeps his eyes peeled on what enterprises are doing about big data as it relates to digital transformation. Paul is responsible for applying practical business methodologies using technological solutions to drive success in organizations.
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