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Cloud Integration Middleware Is Growing

In his latest “IT Trendz” post, Joseph Gulla explores cloud integration with IBM products.

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Last week, I focused on IBM’s IBM Cloud Pak® offerings that are an integrated set of software solutions. These offerings have AI capabilities for hybrid cloud that help organizations implement intelligent workflows to accelerate digital transformation. The breadth and scope of these offerings is striking. This week, I move on to the topic of cloud integration with IBM products. One of the products that I wrote about last week was IBM Cloud Pak for Integration, which is concentrated on integrating applications, data, cloud services and APIs. That solution is one of a number of products that I will focus on this week.

What Approach Is Best for Integration? 

Organizations should modernize their approach to integration and resist the temptation to implement integration as it has been done in the past. It may be challenging, but organizations should rethink people, processes, technology and architecture. At the core of this rethinking should be the adoption of an agile integration strategy, which can accelerate an organization’s ability to transform their work products. In short, an agile approach will help them to better support the volume of integrations required to enable digital transformation.

Integration Products That Make a Difference

IBM has a set of product that have a specific focus on integration in cloud environments. The product set is diverse and valuable in supporting the integration challenges of heterogeneous IT systems and applications. Let me explain.

IBM API Connect
IBM API Connect® is a comprehensive and scalable API platform that lets organizations create, securely expose, manage and monetize APIs across clouds. IBM API Connect is also available with other capabilities as part of the IBM Cloud Pak for Integration solution. Need a refresher on API basics? Check this out on the API economy.

The bottom line: IBM API Connect supports API creation and management with diverse features and centralized governance.
IBM App Connect
IBM App Connect is used to promptly connect applications, data, long-standing systems and modern technologies through a variety of integration styles. These approaches vary from traditional service-oriented architectures to modern, agile and event-driven ones. The connectors catalog gives solid insights into the range of prebuilt connectors that let organizations connect applications on-premise or in the cloud.  
The bottom line: IBM App Connect is an integration solution with hundreds of built-in connectors for on-premise data systems and SaaS.
IBM MQ supports environments where huge amounts of data move as messages between applications, systems and services at any given time. IBM has refined IBM MQ over many years, so it provides excellent message integrity. For example, if a message can’t be delivered immediately, it’s secured in a queue, where it waits until delivery is assured. Assured message delivery is one of a long list of decisive IBM MQ features.
The bottom line: IBM MQ supplies enterprise messaging that simplifies and accelerates the reliable and secure integration of data.
IBM DataPower Gateway
IBM DataPower Gateway® helps organizations meet the security and integration needs of a digital business in a single multichannel gateway. It’s a physical appliance that provides security, control, integration and optimized access to a full range of devices and software through firmware and specially designed circuits. Access devices supported include mobile, web, API, SOA, B2B and cloud workloads. Wondering how it works? You can find more resources from IBM.
The bottom line: IBM DataPower Gateway is a single, multichannel gateway that helps integrate, manage and optimize mobile, web, APIs, SOAs and cloud workloads.
IBM Secure Gateway Service
The Secure Gateway Service provides a straightforward and secure solution to connect anything to anything. The solution provides a persistent connection between on-premise or third-party cloud environments and the IBM Cloud®. All communication with Secure Gateway can be configurable to provide TLS encryption and mutual authentication. Resource monitoring is from the Secure Gateway Dashboard or from the Secure Gateway client.
The bottom line: IBM Secure Gateway Service creates a persistent connection between on-premise or independent-party cloud environments and the IBM Cloud.
IBM Event Streams
Built on open source Apache Kafka, IBM Event Streams is an event-streaming platform that helps organizations build smart applications that can react to events as they happen. The product provides connectors to a wide range of core systems. The product also has a scalable REST API that organizations can use to extend the reach of their existing enterprise assets.
The bottom line: IBM Event Streams enable real-time development with cloud-based messaging service built on Apache Kafka.
IBM Aspera on Cloud
IBM Aspera® on Cloud is a hosted service. It’s used to quickly and reliably send and share files and data sets of any size and type across a hybrid cloud environment. It operates up to hundreds of times faster than FTP and HTTP.
The bottom line: IBM Aspera on Cloud transfer, exchange and automate the delivery of large sets of data across public, private and hybrid clouds at high speed.

The Impact of These Integration Products

A recent IDC whitepaper identifies IT triggers that illustrate how organizations are responding to changing integration requirements. These triggers include the need to integrate cloud and on-premise applications, mobile enablement of applications and digital services and the proliferation of REST APIs. Also, there’s a need to support analytics-driven applications as well as end-user self-service integration. The IBM products just discussed form, in large part, a solution to address many of these triggers and to provide a new generation if integration technology to support digital transformation.

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