ENRICHING THE ‘INTEGRATION AS A SERVICE’ PARADIGM FOR THE CLOUD ERA

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The trend-setting cloud paradigm actually represents the cool conglomeration of a number of proven and promising Web and enterprise technologies. Though the cloud idea is not conceptually new, practically it has brought in myriad tectonic shifts for the whole information and communication technology (ICT) industry. The cloud concepts have progressively and perceptibly impacted the IT and business domains on several critical aspects. The cloud computing has brought in series of novelty-packed deployment, delivery, consumption and pricing models whereas the service orientation prescribes a much simpler application design mechanism. The noteworthy contribution of the much-discoursed and deliberated cloud computing is the faster realization and proliferation of dynamic, converged, adaptive, on-demand, and online compute infrastructures, which are the key requirement for the future IT. The delightful distinctions here are that clouds guarantee most of the non-function requirements (Quality of Service (QoS) attributes) such as availability, high performance, on-demand scalability/elasticity, affordability, global-scale accessibility and usability, energy efficiency etc.

Having understood the exceptional properties of cloud infrastructures (hereafter will be described as just clouds), most of the global enterprises (small, medium and even large) are steadily moving their IT offerings such as business services and applications to clouds. This transition will facilitate a higher and deeper reach and richness in application delivery and consumability. Product vendors having found that the cloud style is a unique proposition are moving their platforms, databases, and middleware to clouds. Cloud Infrastructure providers are establishing cloud centers to host a variety of ICT services and platforms of worldwide individuals, innovators, and institutions. Cloud service providers (CSPs) are very aggressive in experimenting and embracing the cool cloud ideas and today every business and technical services are being hosted in clouds to be delivered to global customers, clients and consumers over the Internet communication infrastructure. For example, security as a service (SaaS) is a prominent cloud-hosted security service that can be subscribed by a spectrum of users of any connected device and the users just pay for the exact amount or time of usage. In a nutshell, on-premise and local applications are becoming online, remote, hosted, on-demand and offpremise
applications. With the unprecedented advertisement, articulation and adoption of cloud concepts, the cloud movement is picking up fast as per leading market research reports. Besides the modernization of legacy applications and positing the updated and upgraded in clouds, fresh applications are being implemented and deployed on clouds to be delivered to millions of global users simultaneously affordably. It is hence clear that a number of strategic and significant movements happen silently in the hot field of cloud computing.

All these portend and predict that there is a new dimension to the integration scenario. Hitherto enterprise data and applications are being linked up via one or more standards-compliant integration platforms, brokers, engines, and containers within the corporate intranet. Business-to-business (B2B) integration is being attended via special data formats, message templates, and networks and even via the Internet. Enterprises consistently expand their operations to several parts of the world as they establish special partnerships with their partners or buy other companies in different geographies for enhancing the product and service portfolios. Business applications are finding their new residence in clouds. However most of the confidential and corporate data are still being maintained in enterprise servers for security reasons. The integration task gets just bigger with the addition of the cloud space and the integration complexity is getting murkier. Hence it is logical to take the integration middleware to clouds to simplify and streamline the enterprise-toenterprise (E2E), enterprise-to-cloud (E2C) and cloud-to-cloud (C2C) integration.

Source of Information : Wiley - Cloud Computing Principles and Paradigms 2011 

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