I spent yesterday lunchtime at a cloud computing discussion lunch at Gordon Ramsay's Claridge's with a company called snapLogic.
Before you ask: starter was trout with cucumber sorbet (not bad), main was chicken and mash with truffles (completely amazing) and pud was a baked pear tart thingy that I didn't care for -- but I have to say that the amuse bouche selection was to die for.
Honestly, one lunch at Ramsay's and I'm clearly full of it. I digress.
OK so chicken and mash aside what's the tech beef here? Well, snapLogic offers cloud connection technologies. Its 'snaps' are described as application- and language-neutral connectors. So this is data connectivity for the cloud, in the cloud - or back on earth if need be.
The problem is (says snapLogic) most companies are not incorporating an 'information consolidation' policy into their wider cloud adoption policy. SaaS renders previous integration techniques obsolete, says the company. Hand-coded integration scripts do not work in the cloud -- and this (in the main) is due to the fact that SaaS vendors do not provide access to their underlying databases.
It was my pleasure to share the discussion forum yesterday with esteemed analyst and blogger Phil Wainewright, who provided a white paper on the subject of cloud integration (sorry! - connection) challenges.
Here's a selection of talking points drawn from an analysis of Phil's white paper which is entitled the "Cloud Connection Imperative"...
• Does the need for continuous real time connection in and of itself pose additional challenges for data services integration?
• When we talk about "classic integration architectures" and say that the old ways no longer work - when do you think the penny will drop and the cloud connection revolution will be widely recognised?
• Where is the gap between conventional integration channels and the needs of the cloud?
• Does the "continuously updated" nature of cloud applications make it harder to connect to static on-premise apps?
• You describe the connection imperative as "tactical incidents with a strategic framework" - do you simply mean that "we need a plan" or are you eluding to something more complex here?
• Mobile users add an additional stream to the connection challenge right? How do we start to approach these challenges?
• You talk about a "single thread of recurring capabilities" across a connection infrastructure... at what point can we start to identify and group commonalities inside this process?
So these are some of the talking points that developers might want to consider if they are thinking about automation technologies for connecting cloud data.
Onward from this, snapLogic and Wainewright recommend not a replacement of the existing "corporate connection infrastructure" (which may be largely hand-coded scripts), but an enhancement and extension of it.
Is this data integration? Not for Wainewright, he prefers the term data connection -- in fact, if you buy his argument, you might say that connection is the new integration this season.