How do you integrate Cloud-Cloud and Cloud-on premise? With IBM WebSphere Cast Iron …one of IBM SmartCloud’s “Secret Sauce” ingredients.

Cloud computing has a major impact on how companies manage their business, be it sales, marketing, HR, finance etc. As each of these functions move to the cloud they require migration and integration, and it’s not just inter-business evolution. Each vendor providing a cloud solution creates their own interface to the application. What we see is a challenge for companies of all sizes, and in all locations, as they attempt to understand and then manage these unique application interfaces and integrate applications from cloud to cloud and cloud to on-premise. This is where WebSphere Cast Iron brings some serious magic.

As more and more business critical applications move to the cloud we start to see different cloud states emerging such as hybrid clouds. Take for example SmartCloud for SAP; real-time synchronisation of data or data delivery across new and old estates. These hybrid architectures require integration to bridge the gap between the on-premise existing systems and the new cloud applications, platform, and infrastructure.

WebSphere Cast Iron will integrate on-premise systems to and from cloud applications via a simple drag and drop interface. It’s a GUI based solution, there is no code to maintain; everything is XML based including all variables and data handling. It’s a non-proprietary solution and requires no custom code to implement. It provides all the management and monitoring of the integration code regardless of the simplicity or complexity of the integration. So in effect, it can grow with your business direction and velocity.

Speed and simplicity are core features of WebSphere Cast Iron. I’ve seen clients use the solution initially for bridging their on-premise ERP to new cloud based CRM projects. Realising the ease of use they also then start to use the flexibility of WebSphere Cast Iron for much smaller requirements where before they might just have produced some custom code and SQL to get at a database.

That’s great for the easy stuff, but here’s a useful feature for much larger customers that have deployed an enterprise service bus (ESB). Until now the move to a cloud hybrid model poses a significant challenge for this infrastructure, why? Well, in the cloud model you’d expect far more frequent changes than an ESB was designed to accommodate, especially when considering more dynamic applications like mobile, social or the growing diverse catalogue of SaaS applications. WebSphere Cast Iron integrates to the ESB acting as a cloud gateway, interfacing the ESB to your emerging portfolio of cloud applications.

This means that as demand grows, the enterprise architecture flexes and morphs and more resource is placed, even if only as a transient burst, into flexible cloud services. Neither business agility nor IT governance need be sacrificed or compromised. With immediate effect, if desired, you could keep your core data residing within the enterprise serviced by one or more key (maybe legacy) applications, yet gain the advantage of smaller cloud based services providing niche applications, such as HR, collaboration services and so on.

Cloud integration services then become pivotal to the IT function. Rather than covering cracks in the architecture they are seen as vital in leveraging the base IT strategy of key enterprise investments, whilst supporting continually emerging business demands.

In a cloud world, we can’t expect restrictive systems that force the same data structures, so WebSphere Cast Iron’s role in performing data transformation is a huge bonus. What’s more, data aggregation is also expected when providing services for other applications, so WebSphere Cast Iron helps combine data from multiple sources. It drives performance benefits across the system making just one API call to obtain data rather than many.

WebSphere Cast Iron comes in 3 flavours, giving you choice to match your overall IT strategy; a physical on-premise appliance, a virtualised hypervisor based appliance or as WebSphere Cast Iron Live, which resides purely in the cloud.

Whether you need to bridge application to application in your enterprise, or hook up your legacy investments to some of this dynamic cloud stuff or interconnect a portfolio of applications across your newly building cloud partner ecosystem, WebSphere Cast Iron has a valid and valuable role.

Don’t just take my word for it, here’s what our clients are saying….

  • Large consumer products company:  “IBM WebSphere Cast Iron cloud not only met our needs for a standards-based, cost-effective and centrally managed messaging and application integration; it also boosted IT staff productivity by 16 times.”
  • IndigoVision achieves easy integration of  “WebSphere Cast Iron solves the business issue of integrating our on-premise financial solution with … This approach enables IndigoVision to operate and support global sales teams while retaining its financial accounting processes in-house.”

If you’re interested in becoming an Integration Business Partner with IBM and utilise WebSphere Cast Iron to help your clients, here’s a great resource for you.

For more information on IBM WebSphere Cast Iron visit the IBM website here.

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