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Meet iPaaS: Gartner Ranks New Cloud Service Pioneers

Gartner creates new cloud category -- integration platform-as-a-service -- and starts tracking a new class of service providers.

on-demand data and application integration, accompanied by SSAE 16 application-level security. The Data Cloud's capabilities may be embedded in cloud applications and set to operate in "enterprise-scale scenarios," the Gartner report noted. It cautions that Actian implementations "reflect uneven versatility in large-scale environments," with some issues over ease of use and reliability.

ISG International Software Group became Attunity in 2000 and went public November 23 of that year, raising $20 million. It's known for its Replicate product for distributed copies of data sets. Replicate Turbostream Change Data Capture is aimed at high volume data transfer and Turbostream DX (data transfer) is a secure, WAN transfer engine moving data to databases in the cloud or otherwise off-premises.

Its integration effort is focused on connecting on-premises databases to Amazon Web Services' Redshift, S3, and RDS services. It offers its CloudBeam service as an iPaaS that connects Oracle, SQL Server and MySQL, IBM DB2, and SAP Adaptive Server Enterprise, among others, to the AWS services. Gartner says Attunity customers say CloudBeam "drastically reduces the time and resources required to reach a solution, when data needs to be migrated (or synchronized)."

CloudBeam is a young service, launched in December 2012, but Attunity hasn't generated a roadmap that indicates it plans to fill it out with connections to applications or make it a multi-step process integration service, the Gartner report said. It can be used for access, sharing and distribution of data across multiple databases in the enterprise and in AWS' EC2. Market awareness of Cloudbeam "remains limited," the report said.

E2E Technologies
E2E is a Basel, Switzerland, company founded in 1996 whose iPaaS service is based on E2E's Bridge middleware, used primarily in the retail, supply chain, and logistics industries. These businesses often need real-time integration. It is a business process model-driven service based on Unified Modeling Language (UML).

Through a partner, No Magic, it is resold with Systems Modeling Language (SysML) used by 500,000 engineers in aerospace, defense, medical, and the logistics industries. The Gartner reported said users like the speed with which integration can be achieved. "Performance, scalability, a small footprint, and the resulting minimal server requirements are notable strengths for E2E Bridge iPaaS," it said. The number of enterprise Java programmers with UML skills is limited, the report warns.

One of the more general purpose iPaaS vendors, SnapLogic's approach to customizable adapters (Snaps) has been adopted on-premises by enterprises and that capability is now available as a multi-tenant service offering. It's been adopted both for line of business projects and central IT projects. It supports a variety of data formats, has a large library of prebuilt adapters for connecting to popular websites and cloud services, as well as on-premises applications. It also supports several communications protocols.

The Gartner report cautions that SnapLogic is focused on modern applications and service endpoints, "with a limited base of experience" to compete with established on-premises integration solutions, such as those from IBM, SAP, and Tibco. Demanding integration projects will not find a programmable rule engine or business process modeler as part of the system, it said.

Dell Boomi
One of the best established iPaas vendors, Boomi was a pioneer of cloud-based integration and was acquired by Dell in November 2010. Now a business unit of Dell Software Group, it provides data cleansing, validation, and transformation and content-based routing through its AtomSphere iPaaS system. A common use of Boomi as it became established was to integrate with on-premises databases.

Dell counts 1,600 midsized and large multinational companies as users of AtomSphere. The emphasis on web services standards, including REST, allows it to provide enterprise-to-cloud integration, business-to-business integration, and on-premises application-to-application integration. It plans to have an emphasis on healthcare and life science application integrations in the future.

Boomi delivers its services from two US-based datacenters and lacks wider geographic distribution, the Gartner report notes. It has no direct presence in Asia/Pacific and a small European presence. It still needs "native support for message queuing and improved monitoring and management, the report said.

As these examples show, each iPaaS vendor tends to have its own approach to a broad and complicated market, focusing on some initiatives at the expense of others. Other young iPaaS vendors in some cases have other limitations. For example, Flowgear iPaaS was established in 2011 and runs on paired datacenters in South Africa and only in that country.

The January 27 Magic Quadrant report on iPaaS was produced by Gartner analysts Massimo Pezzini, Yefim V. Natis, Paolo Malinverno, Kimihiko Iijima, Jess Thompson, and Eric Thoo.

Private clouds are moving rapidly from concept to production. But some fears about expertise and integration still linger. Also in the Private Clouds Step Up issue of InformationWeek: The public cloud and the steam engine have more in common than you might think. (Free registration required.)

Charles Babcock is an editor-at-large for InformationWeek and author of Management Strategies for the Cloud Revolution, a McGraw-Hill book. He is the former editor-in-chief of Digital News, former software editor of Computerworld and former technology editor of Interactive ... View Full Bio

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User Rank: Ninja
2/22/2014 | 1:23:17 PM
It makes sense...
I wonder if we will see more of these integration services as the complexity of cloud becomes a more visible barrier to adoption.  This is particularly important for small organizations who just can't wrap their head around how to leverage a cloud environment, and who don't have the skills to do it themselves.  It's also a great way to get around the capital requirements associated with connecting to an environment, especially if you've got a complex ERP or other application driven environment.  Not so good news for professional services tied to environment migration perhaps.

Then again, adding more acronyms to the mix is undoubtedly continue to make it all seem more complex to customers.
Charlie Babcock
Charlie Babcock,
User Rank: Author
2/19/2014 | 12:44:49 PM
15 subcategories?
Gartner's report actually named 15 subcategories of iPaaS after establishing it as a cloud category. Ah, we didn't go there.
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