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10/24/2011
05:27 PM
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When SaaS Apps Don't Connect: One Answer

MuleSoft puts its enterprise service bus in the cloud with SaaS connectors, other supporting services.



As companies adopt more software as a service (SaaS), the problem of connecting one application to another gets more complicated. MuleSoft, the company behind the Mule enterprise service bus (ESB), is offering an integration service in the cloud to address that problem.

MuleSoft launched IonCloud, an integration platform in the cloud, as a beta service in May and first started talking about it as a generally available service in September. MuleSoft CTO and founder Ross Mason said his firm is building on the wide acceptance of the Mule ESB, which ties one application to another on premises.

"The Mule ESB sits at the heart of the IonCloud," which is a platform for connecting applications cloud-to-cloud as well as cloud-to-on premises, said Ross Mason, CTO and co-founder of MuleSoft, in an interview recently.

[Is all the hype and investment in the cloud justified or Is This A Cloud Bubble?]

An ESB messaging system follows standard protocols and interfaces to make the application connections. A set of SaaS connectors have been added to Mule to make more applications in the cloud available, including SugarCRM, PeopleMatter talent management, PayPal, and NetSuite business apps.

In addition, MuleSoft's MuleForge is a library of connectors for many common applications that can be downloaded to a developer working on IonCloud. The modules are used to create a simple "iApp," or integration application, that ties SaaS in the cloud to an application on premises. A common route would be to tie an SAP ERP on-premises application to Salesforce.com CRM or Sugar CRM with the existing connectors. MuleForce also has a connector developers may use to connect an application in the cloud to any Apple iOS device, such as the iPhone or iPad, said Chris Purpura, VP of business development, in an interview.

The connectors for building the integration application are downloadable from MuleSoft's MuleForge. The Eclipse-based tool, Mule Studio, is also available on IonCloud to give developers the means to build connectors that work on IonCloud or with Mule when downloaded to work on premises.

Ross said his 100-employee firm in San Francisco had been gaining experience with existing IonCloud customers for two months before seeking a broader audience. It is currently adding 12 integration customers a month. Mule is an open source code ESB sponsored by MuleSoft, which provides technical support for it and consulting.

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