The increasing complexity of IT frameworks results in a growing need to connect diverse and disparate data and services. Serving this enterprise need are cloud-based data integration tools.
These applications leverage cloud computing to help a business connect, manage and integrate data from different sources, and ensure that valuable data is available on demand. They enable more efficient use of Big Data.
A recent survey by API platform provider Jitterbit indicated that 67 percent said they experience an increased value from exposing existing systems and data through the cloud. Half of respondents said they moved ideas to market faster, while attracting new partners; 42 percent cited new revenue channels.
These cloud-based integration services, when used effectively, extract greater value from data and produce a more advanced automation framework that spans applications and systems. By reducing and sometimes eliminating manual tasks, an organization can boost productivity, cut costs and unleash innovation.
Selecting a Cloud-Based Data Integration Tool
There are several key considerations when choosing a cloud-based integration tool. It’s important to focus on what set of connectors a tool offers, the scalability of the service, the speed at which the solution operates and what level of security it delivers. There are also a number of critical administration features to consider. These encompass four primary areas:
- Admin Functions: These tools help with visual design, data transformation, connectors, and managing workflows and user communities.
- Run Time Capabilities: These are features like real time integration, parallel processing, data chunking, data masking and proactive monitoring.
- Integration Tasks: This tool set handles Big data processing, data virtualization, data life cycle management, master data management, managed file transfers and messaging functions.
- Platform Functions: These tools manage testing, customization, APIs, global compatibility, performance, reliability and security.
- Azure Service Bus
- Dell Boomi
- IBM App Connect
- Talend Big Data Integration Platform
- TIBCO ActiveMatrix BusinessWorks
The cloud messaging platform connects applications and devices across cloud environments using a service-oriented architecture (SOA). It relies on cloud-based, message-oriented middleware technologies to deliver high performance and reliability for data integration and transfers. It offers app and service scalability.
Users are drawn to Azure Service Bus by the power, convenience, dependability and flexibility it delivers. Complaints revolve primarily around debugging and troubleshooting.
The cloud-native integration platform uses a low-code graphical interface, APIs and pre-built connectors to simplify the difficult task of connecting applications and data across legacy systems and cloud platforms. Boomi handles master data management, data integration and data quality services (DQS) within a single interface. It integrates data repositories from multiple vendors, including Netsuite, Salesforce, GoogleSheets and Oracle E-Business Suite.
Dell Boomi receives high marks for features and functionality, ease of use, customer service and value. A few users complain that the platform is expensive and presents a difficult learning curve.
IBM offers a multi-tenant, cloud-based platform that allows organizations to integrate applications and other enterprise systems rapidly. It relies on an approach that involves autoconfiguration, not coding. IBM App Connect uses augmented intelligence to support a wide range of integration styles, from traditional SOA to modern event, API, and microservices-based. It includes hundreds of secure pre-built connectors along with robust integration features and strong reporting and data analysis capabilities.
IBM App Connect receives high marks for its powerful integration and data handling features. It receives some criticism for its pricing model.
Part of Hitachi Data Systems, the platform delivers sophisticated data integration, OLAP services, reporting, information dashboards, data mining and extract, transform, load capabilities. However, users report that the cloud platform is also valuable for developing applications, handling systems migration and tacking data science tasks. Pentaho is highly scalable and customizable, and supports an intelligent architecture.
Users like the cost-benefit ratio of Pentaho. Concerns primarily revolve around the lack of documentation and the sometimes less-than-intuitive tools and features.
The company specializes in Integration-as-a-Platform tools and services. Its Enterprise Integration Cloud uses a graphical no-code interface to digitize processes, connect systems and bridge departments and data repositories within an organization. It supports complex transformations, conditional operations, triggers, parameterization, aggregation, and reuse. SnapLogic offers more than 450 connectors and includes AI/machine learning, advanced monitoring and a mobile-ready interface.
Users say that SnapLogic offers powerful capabilities. Complaints revolve around mapping functions, regression testing tools and the company’s support framework.
The Talend platform offers high-scale, in-memory data processing. It delivers graphical tools and wizards that generate native code that is compatible with top platforms, including Apache Hadoop, Apache Spark, Spark Streaming and NoSQL databases. Talend was cited as a leader in the Q2 2018 Forrester Wave.
User say that the Talend Big Data Integration Platform offers a user-friendly interface. A few complain that it can take considerable time to build a job and it sometimes slows under the weight of large workloads.
TIBCO’s cloud-based data integration platform lets businesses create services, orchestrate services, capture, and publish events from internal or external applications and technologies. Developers can rapidly develop and graphically test integration processes in a no-code, standards-based IDE. The package promotes an open-API framework that facilitates speed through the use of Java and a drag-and-drop interface.
Users praise TIBCO ActiveMatrix BusinessWorks’s fast development framework but also say that the platform can occasionally be difficult and buggy to use.
This solution delivers a pre-integrated cloud-based software suite to handle rapid integration across systems, services, devices, applications and processes. Using a powerful API and Master Data Management (MDM) platform, it serves as a solid foundation for developing advanced applications and services.
Users give WebMethod high marks for ease of use, support for numerous architectures and its breadth of tools and functions. However, some users report a steep learning curve and high licensing costs.
Cloud-based Integration Tools: Comparison Chart
|Provider||Key Features||Possible Drawbacks|
|Azure Service Bus||The platform delivers power along with high levels of convenience, dependability and flexibility within an SOA framework.||Some users complain about debugging and troubleshooting. A few also dislike proprietary features in the software.|
|Dell Boomi||Low code. User friendly GUI. Robust set of pre-built connectors that speeds development and integration.||Price. Steep learning curve. Logging and debugging can be difficult. The standard interface may not handle all functionality required, thus necessitating the use of scripts.|
|IBM App Connect||Fast, powerful and easy to use. Highly flexible and able to address a wide array of tasks across systems and other platforms.||Licensing costs can run high with multiple endpoints. Users say that transaction logging functions could be improved.|
|Pentaho||Highly scalable, customizable and intelligent architecture that can support a wide array of integration functions and tasks.||Some users complain about the user interface and the documentation, including a less than robust user manual.|
|SnapLogic||Strong integration with cloud services such as AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud, as well as SAP, Salesforce and social media sites.||Users complain about mapping functions, regression testing features, and the company’s customer support framework.|
|Talend Big Data Integration Platform||Rich graphical interface and robust tools that are compatible with major web and cloud platforms.||Can involve a steep learning curve. Can be difficult to integrate with other solutions. Some users complain that the platform runs slow.|
|TIBCO ActiveMatrix BusinessWorks||User-friendly interface and strong integration with other tools. Users say it’s relatively easy to learn and delivers a fast development framework.||Users say that the platform can run slow under certain circumstances.|
|WebMethods||Powerful and fast. Strong support for both legacy and cloud applications and data sources. Offers a breadth of tools and apps to address numerous tasks.||Complex. Difficult to learn. Users report that licensing costs can run high.|