Out there is the real world Cloud is fast becoming a mainstream option for businesses, but it is – and in the view of Juan Carlos Soto, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Cloud Integration at Informatica, will be for many years to come yet – only one option. Not only that, it will therefore have to co-exist with on-premise systems for many years yet.
“There are only a small number of businesses that are fully Cloud-based,” Soto said, “and most of them are start-up companies with no legacy systems to incorporate. For the rest of us, I feel strongly that we will be living in a hybrid Cloud world for the foreseeable future. Most companies will have a mix of on-premise systems and Cloud services.”
Against that background, integration becomes one of the key technical issues that users will need to see solved. If company IT departments have to spend significant time on arm-wrestling the interfaces between existing on-premise applications that bring value to the business and do not need to be changed, and new Cloud services that extend and enhance the overall value proposition of the business, they are likely not to bother.
“The question users will want answered is `how do I truly unlock the potential of Cloud which works with the rest of my business?’ without just trading one type of data silo for another,” he said. “But this does involve getting users to make a leap of faith when it comes to integration.”
Informatica has hopes that its latest development in this area, Cloud Spring 2013, will be the tool and talisman that will justify such leaps of faith. A key component of Cloud Spring is Cloud Extend, the technologies that Informatica acquired when it bought Active Endpoints. This Cloud -based application delivers comprehensive workflow capabilities for Salesforce.com customers and is already available on the Salesforce AppExchange.
It provides tools that encapsulate and automate best practices across business processes and human workflows. It also enables the creation and maintenance of workflows composed of data in Salesforce CRM, as well as other applications in the Cloud or on-premise.
Cloud Spring also delivers new security and administration features that support broader Cloud integration deployments and strengthen IT governance and control. These include Hybrid Security Options for Storing Connection Credentials, giving Cloud customers the option to store connection credentials (e.g., username, password, security token, etc.) on-premise, behind the firewall or in the Cloud , and Org-Level Blackouts, which extend Informatica Cloud ’s fine-grained access controls. This gives administrators the ability to define blackout periods during which no integration, replication or data quality jobs will run.
According to Soto, Informatica’s primary aim is to make Cloud Spring very easy to use. “We are running a `try before you buy’ service where users get 30 days free trial. And our goal is to create an environment where users can opt for an `AND’ decision for Cloud and on-premise systems, rather than be forced to opt for an `OR’ decision.”
He suggested this will be helped because the new Cloud version uses the company’s established integration technologies already widely used in on-premise enterprise environments. This means that enterprise IT departments are likely to be using the same tools to integrate both on-premise and Cloud applications in any combination that is required. They will also be able to change the integrations as circumstances require.
Soto also sees this as an opportunity to expand the on-premise side of the business as enterprises coming to Informatica with a need for Cloud apps and services integration only may then find the ability to integrate with on-premise applications a side benefit of some value.
“So we are aiming to provide the best applications and service delivery environment for users, regardless of whether they are on-premise or in the Cloud ,” he said.