Buyer Beware! iPaaS is a Mule Disguised as a Unicorn
Everyone seems to agree that Integration Platform as a Service is the next big thing, but can it really solve security and efficiency problems, or is it more of the same?
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There seems to be a de facto consensus that iPaaS (Integration Platform as a Service) is the next big thing. So much so that the MuleSoft, one of the leading iPaaS vendors, achieved unicorn status last year after a successful round of venture capital financing and, then, this past March, went on to have a very successful IPO.
- iPaaS requires significant developer resources with “hot skills.” Its promise of pre-built adaptors (just as ESB providers promised pre-built adapters in the mid-2000s) may enhance productivity for simple integrations, but the reality is that never-ceasing change always finds a way to outstrip pre-built and out-of-the-box solutions. With data sources, formats, and volumes growing unchecked, iPaaS amounts to a costly ‘full employment act’ for developers. And with rising developer costs, the benefits of iPaaS developer productivity tools is quickly marginalized.
- iPaaS runs afoul of data compliance. iPaaS, like most software, is only compliant until it’s taken out of the box. The moment a developer puts an integration into motion, vulnerabilities are exposed and the burden to demonstrate a compliant process falls squarely upon the organization. Multiply this by the effect of many discordant developers—and citizen integrators—and an organization’s attempts at maintaining enterprise-wide compliance for stringent frameworks such as PCI DSS or HIPAA can be quickly overrun.
- iPaaS focuses on applications, not data. As with the ESB architecture it is based upon, iPaaS’ primary goal is to move data from one application to another (in fact, the MuleSoft platform is based on 10-year-old Open Source ESB technology, ported to the cloud). This focus on applications is shortsighted at a time when it is no longer adequate to merely transport and transform data between two end points. Data has become a critical asset in its own right, and the end product of integration needs to go a step further, producing application-agnostic data sets that advance big data and other critical digital transformation objectives. This is exceedingly difficult to accomplish in the fragmented, do-it-yourself, point-to-point iPaaS integration environment.
- Providing the underlying mechanics of integration as turnkey, managed services to truly free IT from the burden of integration, which has a high learning curve but offers no competitive advantage in and of itself.
- Unifying integration and data management so that disparate data is additionally cleansed, harmonized, and consolidated as part of a coordinated set of workflows.
- Giving users broad, self-service access to API’s, where it matters most, at the data layer so that those with the expertise needed to innovate within the business can inspect, manipulate, and analyze their data on an ad-hoc basis.
- Providing stringent cross-industry data compliance that dynamically expands as platform use expands.
Published at DZone with permission of Rob Consoli. See the original article here.
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