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Top Five Cloud Integration Platforms and Tools

Options for cloud integration for enterprises

Cloud Integration Platform
Cloud  won't be a single point solution for all the needs of enterprises, and most enterprises have heavily invested in in-house systems and servers; howevers  we are already seeing  enough patterns for the enterprise to adopt public clouds too. This requires tools and platforms that can integrate the public cloud with in-house systems or private clouds of  the enterprises.

The following list indicates some of the leading platforms around.

1. Azure  Platform App  Fabric
Windows Azure AppFabric provides a comprehensive cloud middleware platform for developing, deploying and managing applications on the Windows Azure Platform. It delivers additional developer productivity, adding in higher-level Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) capabilities on top of the familiar Windows Azure application model.

This platform includes Service Bus and Access Control.  Windows Azure AppFabric provides common building blocks required by .NET applications when extending their functionality to the cloud, and specifically, the Windows Azure platform. The below diagram explains the building blocks of Appfabric , courtesy - MSDN.

Pros

  • A truly cloud integration platform provided as PaaS
  • Fully back bone of the .net services and WCF (Windows Communications Framework)
  • Standards based for the inter-operability concerns

Cons

  • Even with the adoption of open standards .net based development is seen as proprietary and vendor lock-in platform
  • Limited enterprise design patterns and case studies at this time, to provide reference implementations for integration with
  • o ERP packages
  • o Mainframe and legacy systems
  • o Business Intelligence

2. Atomsphere

Boomi  AtomSphere , the industry's first Platform-as-a-Service for integration, connects any combination of cloud and on-premise applications without software or appliances. ISVs, integrators, and businesses alike benefit by connecting to the industry's largest application network using one seamless and self-service platform. The below diagram indicates the Graphical integration orchestration courtesy from the vendor.

Pros

  • A PaaS platform with a visual graphical tool for integration
  • Pre built connections with existing ERP applications

Cons

  • To run only in Atom platform which will be proprietary
  • Programming options for custom integration needs seems to be limited

3. Cast Iron Omni Connect
Cast Iron Systems provides pre-configured integration solutions for hundreds of leading enterprise and cloud applications. These solutions, built on the Cast Iron OmniConnect Platform, use the company's "configuration, not coding" approach to solve the entire lifecycle of your integration needs.  Omni Connect adopts  simple "configuration, not coding" approach to application integration.

Pros

  • Takes care most of the integration patterns between the premises and cloud
  • Covers Cloud Data Migration, Cloud Data Synchronization, Cloud UI Mashups
  • Pre-built connectivity to many enterprise applications

Cons

  • Some design patterns depends on Physical Appliances and the Vendor lock-in issues may arise
  • Limited customized coding options may affect the complex integration scenarios

4. Amazon SQS
Amazon Simple Queue Service (Amazon SQS) is a complementary web service that enables you to build highly scalable EC2 applications easily. Amazon SQS is a highly reliable, scalable message queuing service that enables asynchronous message-based communication between distributed components of an application. The components can be computers or EC2 instances or a combination of both. With Amazon SQS you can send any number messages to an Amazon SQS queue at any time from any component.

Pros

  • Developers can access Amazon SQS through standards-based SOAP and Query interfaces.
  • Amazon SQS was designed to enable an unlimited number of computers to read and write an unlimited number of messages at any time.

Cons

  • No graphical user based integration option, rather dependent on the third party providers
  • No real life patterns seen to integrate with on premise applications, even though nothing really prevents the usage of such a pattern

5. Google App Engine For Business
Google App Engine for Business lets organizations build and maintain their applications on the same scalable architecture that powers Google applications, with added management and support features tailored specifically for the enterprise. It is more of custom coding approach to integrate the on premise and Cloud applications.

Pros

  • Key enterprise features built on the robust Cloud Platform, which could be extended for integration

Cons

  • No graphical user based integration option, rather dependent on the third party providers
  • Currently the patterns and case studies missing for on premise and Cloud integration rather it needs to be custom coded

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