|By Ajay Budhraja||
|May 31, 2012 02:15 PM EDT||
Effective integration of Cloud Computing software services to existing in-house applications is an important element of leveraging the Cloud. It is not sufficient to be content with procuring software as a service and deploying the product. A solid integration strategy and plan can support the connections and seamless transfer of data across on-premise and external services. Cloud integration has to take into account factors such as elasticity and scalability and the architecture has to be clearly defined to support these integration aspects. If integration is not done right, silos can develop and data redundancy can quickly creep in. The key is to build an integration framework or layer that supports Cloud services and on premise applications, services, databases in the organization.
Cloud connector tools offered by vendors facilitate quick integration and data synchronization across the services. These tools can facilitate seamless data access and mapping across the services. Many vendors have drag and drop capabilities to handle the integration process. Integration capabilities built in house can handle these aspects so they can be customized quickly for the business requirements. There are many areas of integration to look into such as process, data, function, interface etc. Integration can occur either in batch mode or as real time synchronization. Since software as a service integration realizes external traffic that can access internal systems through the firewall, secure integration access is essential to protect corporate data.
Cloud integration plug-ins enable integration across data sources and applications. Integration across services can also occur through application programming interfaces such as web services (SOAP, REST etc), integration servers or file transfers. Enterprise Application integration frameworks can link services together and middleware can also be leveraged. An Enterprise Service Bus can provide good integration capabilities and seamless integration across services. The Enterprise Service Bus integrates loosely coupled systems and is an integration platform for service oriented development that can support application programming interfaces and transports. Prior to integration the protocols, locations and nature of services have to be carefully assessed to come up with the final solution.
The objective is to achieve mediation across applications and data sources and with the shift to the Cloud this mediation may encompass on premise and external applications. One best practice is to make sure that services and applications are designed as loosely coupled and to monitor the integrated solution regularly to ensure optimal performance. Another best practice is to have change management policies and procedures in place since this is an important element of integration. As interfaces provided by the Cloud vendor change, updates may have to be made for the services or programs that access these services. Integration can be achieved not just across data, but also across business processes and to support advanced workflow integration Business Process Management tools may also be utilized. The synchronization, transfer and monitoring of data across services lays down a strong foundation for successful software as a service Cloud deployments.
(This has been extracted from and is reference to Ajay Budhraja's blog)
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