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Choose integration tools with care

No two IT infrastructures are alike. We all know it’s true. Tiny differences in applications, configuration, or patch status pretty much guarantee that no two “identical” servers can ever be exactly alike. Similarly, no two integration projects are alike. Choosing the right tools for integration projects varies widely, even for different corporations that run the same software. Choose carefully, says Forrester principal analyst Henry Peyret.

“The integration landscape is changing under cloud, mobile, and IoT,” he says. That means new and continually changing requirements inevitably lead to integration scenario complexities. What was true yesterday might be just a little bit different today. You already know that if you’re rolling out weekly updates to a mobile app.

“This complexifying integration landscape is challenging the existing integration strategic investments like ESB (enterprise service bus), EAI (enterprice application integration), and ETL (extract, transform, and load).” Even though “complexifying” wasn’t in my spell checker, what Peyret says is crystal clear.

It’s not just cloud, mobile, and IoT. It’s about which specific applications you’re trying to integrate, whether they reside on-premises or in the cloud, and which data sets they need to access and share. These are all complicating — or complexifying — factors. Add security and access considerations to the mix, along with data sovereignty requirements, governmental mandates, and corporate governance rules, and you can get in the middle of a serious challenge very quickly.

So what does this mean for integration tools makers? A lot. It means the tools have to adapt nearly as fast as your company does to ever-changing market conditions. Says Peyret, “The tooling market is facing multiple convergence between cloud and on-premises (creating hybrid integration), convergence of data, and event-based interfaces, such as batch and event in a single integration solution.”

The first consequence is that there are multiple new offerings available, but not all are adapted to support what Forrester characterizes as dynamic Integration. What do you need to do? “Companies should plan for tactical choices today which have the potential to become strategic investments, but they should not expect to get one single solution for all their integration scenarios,” says Peyret.

And there it is. No one tool is likely to meet all of your application- and data-integration requirements.

Have you found this to be true? Which tools did you choose and what consideration drove you to that decision? Share your thoughts; we’d like to hear from you.