IPaaS: Integration Platform as a Service. Buzzword Or Has Real Substance?

IPaaS: Integration Platform as a Service. Buzzword or has real substance?

As enterprises have started using various cloud services such as Salesforce.com, Google apps, etc a new problem has crept up in the form of “cloud silos”. This has complicated the integration of various components in the enterprise with each other. Thus, a new set of services are emerging that focuses on the integration aspect. IpaaS (Integration Platform as a Service) lets you connect to your cloud services and the enterprise applications in a single interface.

Gartner research coined this term last year and it has been a source of a lot of discussion in the community, lately. Is it yet another buzzword acronym that lacks little meaning, or does it have real substance?

Gartner defines iPaaS as ‘a suite of cloud services enabling development, execution and governance of integration flows connecting any combination of on-premises and cloud-based processes, services, applications and data within individual, or across multiple, organizations.’

It has also recently said that by 2016, 35% of enterprises will be using iPaaS in some or the other. While it is right to be skeptical on their numbers, it must be realized that for a lot of enterprises the pain is real. Some of them feel they don’t have a real control over their data, platform and applications any more.

Currently the cloud software stack has three main layers:

Software as a Service (SaaS) that manages your processes and user interactions. eg. Salesforce.com

Platform as a Service (PaaS) the middleware that provides the application infrastructure (heroku, Google app engine) etc.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) the hardware layer that provides virtualization and access to the computing resources.

The iPaaS is designed to act in the middle and help you connect to a number of services across the layers. Gartner research believes that IpaaS will start the trend in 2012 with it replacing a whole motley of integration middleware that are used currently. iPaaS will help the cloud service providers convince their consumers better with a good integration story.

While the concept is good, it adds yet another layer of complexity to cloud computing. For a lot of businesses, this added complexity of a soup of acronyms keep them from moving on to the cloud completely. Recently, Hollis Tibbets wrote a good piece on Ipaas skepticism and there are many in the industry who share the confusion.

To sum it up, I believe IpaaS is a good concept that might be beneficial in theory. However, the existing iPaaS have not matured enough to prove the concept right.

By Balaji Viswanathan

Balaji

Balaji Viswanathan is the founder of Agni Innovation Labs that helps startups and small businesses with their marketing and tech strategy. He has a Masters in Computer Science from the University of Maryland and has been blogging for the past 7 years on technology and business related topics.

Comments

  1. schoutene says

    Yes, there are many variations possible on the aaS theme. But let’s not confuses people more than needed… The three consumption models of cloud (IaaS, PaaS, SaaS) describe up until which layer of your cloud service is managed and from which layer the client is responsible.

    Intergration is and will become an even more important subject in cloud computing, connecting all cloud services in your IT landscape together into one whole.
    – It’s not just a managed hypervisor/operating system, so it’s more than IaaS
    – It’s not offering a complete set of user functionality, so it’s less than SaaS
    – It’s a part of your application landscape, a resource, that needs further configuration, so it’s PaaS

    To me it’s just one of many managed services that PaaS will be able to offer, next to DevOps, workload deployment software, elastic scaling patterns, databases, applications like SAP etc.

  2. Ralph Hibbs says

     @schoutene Dell Boomi is hosting a webinar on iPaaS (Integration Platform As A Service), featuring the lead Gartner analyst for iPaaS, Massimo Pezzini and an iPaaS practitioner, Pradip Sitaram, CIO, Enterprise Business Partners. Date: April 24, 2012 at 10 am Eastern.  Attend the webinar, learn what Gartner means by iPaaS, hear from a practitioner deploying iPaaS, and then engage in a healthy Q&A session. https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/639682720

      • says

         @schoutene I agree. It is confusing in the sense that it is adding one more *aaS mixture to the soup. However, Gartner and others believe that it will grow enough in size to be considered distinct from PaaS. With the amount of integration issues faced by enterprises, I partly agree to that. We have to wait for a while to see if this terminology gets a life of its own or gets integrated with PaaS.


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