Cloud-based integration is a form of systems integration business delivered as a cloud computing service that addresses data, process, service-oriented architecture (SOA) and application integration.
One marketing buzzword is iPaaS (integration platform as a service), for a suite of cloud services enabling customers to develop, execute and govern integration flows between disparate applications. Under the cloud-based iPaaS integration model, customers drive the development and deployment of integrations without installing or managing any hardware or middleware. The iPaaS allows businesses to achieve integration without big investment into skills or licensed middleware software. iPaaS used to be regarded as integration tool for cloud-based software applications, used mainly by small to mid-sized business. In the meantime, however, a hybrid type of iPaaS, i.e. iPaaS that connects cloud to on-premise, is becoming increasingly popular. Additionally, large enterprises explore ways of integrating iPaaS into the existing IT estate.
Prior to the emergence of cloud computing,[when?] integration could be categorized as either internal or business to business (B2B). Internal integration requirements were serviced through an on-premises middleware platform and typically utilized a service bus to manage exchange of data between systems. B2B integration was serviced through EDI gateways or value-added network (VAN). The advent of SaaS applications created a new kind of demand which was met through cloud-based integration. Since their emergence, many such services have also developed the capability to integrate legacy or on-premises applications, as well as function as EDI gateways.
The following essential features were proposed by one marketing company:
- Deployed on a multi-tenant, elastic cloud infrastructure
- Subscription model pricing (operating expense, not capital expenditure)
- No software development (required connectors should already be available)
- Users do not perform deployment or manage the platform itself
- Presence of integration management & monitoring features
The emergence of this sector led to new cloud-based business process management tools that do not need to build integration layers - since those are now a separate service.
Drivers of growth include the need to integrate mobile app capabilities with proliferating API publishing resources and the growth in demand for the Internet of things functionalities as more 'things' connect to the Internet. The integration market has a variety of players, such as application designers, systems integrators, cloud vendor, network service providers and development service providers. These include, IBM, SAP, Oracle, Microsoft and MuleSoft. Whilst many of these focus on integrating APIs and other online services, smaller iPaaS providers like Cloudreach focused purely on integration services with cloud environments.
- Gartner; Massimo Pezzini; Paolo Malinverno; Eric Thoo. "Gartner Reference Model for Integration PaaS". Retrieved 16 January 2013.
- Gartner. "Gartner IT Glossary". Retrieved 6 July 2015.
- "Hybrid IT and iPaaS (integration Platform as a Service)". Enterprise Real-time Integration. 2015-11-12. Retrieved 2016-11-21.
- Stefan Ried. "B2B meets cloud based integration (CBI)". Retrieved 19 January 2013.
- Donovan Jones (February 21, 2017). "Blackstone Acquires Cloudreach For Access To iPaaS Market". Seeking Alpha. Retrieved March 19, 2017.