K2VIEW guide

What is iPaaS?
A Comprehensive Guide


This paper answers the question, “What is iPaaS?” by presenting a comprehensive guide to data “integration platform as a service” solutions.

ipaas

INTRO

iPaaS – critical for data-intensive enterprises

iPaaS simplifies data integration. According to analyst Gartner, enterprise iPaaS is foundational for supporting application and data integration, and increasingly used for B2B integration and API management.

This guide covers the definitions, challenges, purposes, benefits, inner workings, use cases, core capabilities, enterprise requirements, and a comparison with traditional enterprise service bus (ESB) architectures. It concludes by highlighting a unique new technology that delivers “data fabric as a service”.

Chapter 01

What is iPass?

iPaaS, or “integration Platform as a Service”, standardizes how applications and data are integrated in an organization, making it easier to automate business processes, and share data across applications.

It is a single platform that provides capabilities to enable subscribers to implement data, application, API and process integration projects, involving any combination of cloud-resident, and on-premises, endpoints. This is accomplished by developing, deploying, executing, managing, and monitoring integration processes/flows that connect multiple endpoints, in order to work together.

Typical iPaaS scenarios:

  • Application-to-application (A2A) integration
  • Business-to-business (B2B) integration
  • Cloud service integration (CSI)
  • Internet of Things (IoT) integration
  • Mobile application integration (MAI)

Gartner considers an iPaaS solution to be enterprise (EiPaaS) if it designed to support projects requiring high availability/disaster recovery (HA/DR), security, service-level agreements (SLAs), and technical support from the service provider.

Chapter 02

iPaaS Challenges

Enterprises are constantly churning out applications, many of which are chosen by business units seeking “best of breed” and deployed as silos – but still need to be integrated with other apps, and share data across the organization. And business-critical processes – such as quote-to-cash, order fulfillment, item management, procure-to-pay, and more – span a variety of applications across multiple departments. Not to mention the growing volume of data from all data types and formats, flowing between applications.

Traditionally, enterprises integrated their business processes via a combination of custom programming, middleware, and/or enterprise application integration (EAI) implementations, like service-oriented architecture (SOA). But while such solutions worked fine, they typically took a lot of time to create and were expensive to run. They also left enterprises reliant on specific data silos, meaning that data couldn’t be shared among different consumers.

ipaas-1As data services move to the cloud, so must data/app integration.

As enterprises transition to cloud services, the past approaches of custom programming, middleware, or other implementations required to integrate each service are impractical and untenable. Plus, the rapid expansion of network services and edge computing generates further demand for integration with a wide variety of products. Today’s enterprises must be able to quickly integrate data services in any environment: on-premises, in private and public clouds, and at the edge.

Chapter 03

Why iPaaS?

iPaaS solutions standardize how new applications are added and existing applications are integrated to an enterprise, making it easier to move all types of data across applications, while providing the necessary integration functionality as well.

Integration is standardized in the sense that iPaaS solutions dynamically monitor, maintain, and update processes across applications, which are constantly being added, deleted, or changed. The right iPaaS enables both data consumers and technical engineers the ability to easily build, manage, and maintain integrations.

Chapter 04

iPaaS Benefits

In comparison with traditional integration solutions (e.g., out-of-the-box, point-to-point etc.), iPaaS benefits stand out:

  • Quicker, easier integrations
    With iPaaS, there’s no need for lengthy planning processes, or large project teams.
  • Faster time to value
    The service is available to both operations and development teams. All they need to do is subscribe and start integrating.
  • Better results, with less work, and no specialized skills
    iPaaS achieve more improved, and enriched, integrations in shorter periods of time, and without the need for new integration functionality for each new addition.
  • Enhanced scalability
    With the use of public cloud-based integration, business can grow to meet demands without having to worry about setting up yet another custom in-house integration.
  • Expanded use
    Anyone in the organization can get the data they need, when they need it, when data and processes are updated across applications.
  • Lower integration costs
    With iPaaS, there’s no need for high-paid developers to generate code for custom integrations. Additionally, the SaaS model allows for monthly or yearly subscriptions, making it extremely cost-effective over time. And the iPaaS vendor is responsible for maintenance and storage of interconnected data.
  • Optimized B2B integration
    Every enterprise has its own process for exchanging information with partners, but different applications, used at different companies, make it hard to communicate.
  • Embedded API management
    With iPaaS, there’s no need to publish customer APIs, or combine APIs from other services. The platform is a more scalable and secure solution for managing APIs.

fabric pillar pg-1

iPaaS integrates data and applications simply and quickly.

Chapter 05

iPaaS Overview

iPaaS is a single integrated platform that delivers a consistent process for data integration between all relevant apps in an enterprise, whether on premise or in the cloud.

The platform is hosted and managed on the cloud, and provided as a service. iPaaS subscribers need to choose the applications and services they need to integrate, and orchestrate the data flows between them. Everything else is the responsibility of the cloud provider, including data governance, feature updates, hardware management, security, and software fixes when necessary.

Pricing for iPaaS typically comes in the form of a monthly subscription fee or a pay-as-you-go model.

iPaaS providers usually offer a wide range of integration scenarios, especially targeting highly regulated enterprises. iPaaS allows for real-time data exchange between SaaS apps, as well as between SaaS apps and other cloud-based applications, SaaS and on-premises applications.

Chapter 06

iPaaS Use Cases

iPaaS use cases

A growing number of enterprises count on iPaaS to manage applications and data more easily, integrate legacy systems more quickly, and resolve integration issues more thoroughly.

The top use cases of iPaaS include:

iPaaS enables highly-regulated industries – like telecommunications, financial services, and healthcare – integrate data and systems quickly, securely, and in complete compliance with consumer privacy regulations.

Chapter 07

iPaaS Core Capabilities

Here are the core capabilities of an iPaaS platform:

  • Data connectivity
    Data connectivity ingests data from any source, in any delivery mode, and then transforms it for delivery, to any target, in any format.
  • Data and application integration
    Data integration creates and manages scalable data pipelines between source and target systems, for operational and analytical use cases.
  • Data orchestration
    Data orchestration unifies, transforms, and enriches data, from any source systems into any target applications, quickly and easily.
  • Data governance
    Data governance ensures data quality, enforces data privacy and security controls, and makes the data easily accessible at enterprise scale.
  • Data catalogue and data lineage
    A data catalog is built into the company's data fabric to inventory and classify data assets, and visually map information supply chains to show data lineage.

Beyond the above, the platform must be able to handle lifecycle management and monitoring (management of the cloud integrations), error handling, and API management.

In short, the right iPaaS solution should be flexible and scalable enough to meet the extremely demanding requirements of modern data management.

iPaaS data integration options
iPaaS supports a broad range of data sources and delivery modes.

Chapter 08

iPaaS Enterprise Requirements

Enterprise iPaaS requires whole a new approach, coined “EiPaaS” by Gartner. EiPaaS needs to simplify the creation of complex integrations, and to shift integration management from IT to the data consumers, by providing clear-cut guidelines.

ipaas copy 2EiPaaS must focus on data security and protection, as well as end-user privacy rights.

EiPaaS platforms need to address the following requirements:

  • Security and protection
    The enterprise solution should provide fundamental security like fraud detection, and user authorization.
  • Privacy compliance
    iPaaS should ensure compliance with industry standards, like those issued by the Payment Card Security Standards Council, and privacy regulations, like GDPR.
  • Continuous delivery
    Data teams should be able to design, integrate, and deliver applications, across the enterprise, whether the apps are developed internally, or on the cloud.
  • Continuous testing
    The enterprise platform should also provide for testing, deployment, and automation – to enable faster time to market across all environments.
  • Support for leading cloud platforms
    The right iPaaS tool integrate easily with leading cloud platforms – like AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud – as well as with locally hosted virtual architectures.

Chapter 09

iPaaS vs ESB

An enterprise service bus (ESB) is a layer of middleware that manages and shares, data and application components, across the organization. Although housed on premise, ESB systems can facilitate cloud integrations, and mimic hybrid cloud environments.

iPaaS takes over where ESB leaves off, especially in terms of enterprise-critical capabilities, as reviewed in the following table:

 

ESB

iPaaS

 

Remote hosting

No. ESB resides on-premise, and acts as a middle layer, between local data and services, and the cloud.

Yes. iPaaS is based in the cloud, or in a hybrid environment, where management tools are hosted remotely.

 

Multi-tenancy

No. ESB can’t host multiple users from single software instances. Yes. Because, iPaaS is cloud-based, hosting multiple users in built in.  

SaaS operations

No. Although ESB is ‘cloud-capable’, it isn’t a true cloud integration platform.

Yes. iPaaS operates in SaaS environments by definition.

 

Custom coding

No. Traditional ESB doesn’t respond as capably to changes in remote services as cloud-based services.

Yes. iPaaS is a hosted service that applies updates, security fixes, and other refinements, automatically.

 

Real-time response

No. ESB response times lag behind its iPaaS counterpart.

Yes. iPaaS responds in milliseconds, enabling proactive business intelligence.

 


For enterprises that need to be flexible about future scaling, or adopting a new data integration architecture, iPaaS is clearly the better choice.

Chapter 10

Data Fabric as a Service

A modern approach to EiPaaS is based on the “Data Fabric as a Service” implementation.

K2View is the only data fabric deployed in a public cloud (as well as offering an on-premise, and hybrid deployment optionss).

K2View is a highly effective EiPaaS solution because it delivers:

  • Patented entity-based technology
    When data is organized by business entity, and managed by Micro-Database™ (for example, one micro-DB for every customer instance), performance is unparalleled.
  • Multi-use data schemas
    An enterprise can build the data schema once, and use it for many different use cases, such as customer 360, data pipelining, test data management, and more.
  • Modular, open, and scalable architecture
    Data integration, transformation, enrichment, preparation, and delivery are aggregated in a single, extensible platform.
  • Split-second, end-to-end, response times
    Enterprise data fabric is built to support high-scale, high-voume operations in real time, with bi-directional data movement between sources and targets.
  • Data management for operational and analytical workloads
    Integrated, trusted data is delivered in a split second into consuming applications, or pipelined into data lakes and data warehouses for analytical purposes.

Chapter 11

iPaaS Vendors

There are multiple vendors offering solutions for enterprise-grade app/data integration. The following table lists the pros and cons of the industry’s leading iPaaS vendors:

Vendors

Pros

Cons 

 

K2View

  • Single, integrated platform, bringing together a variety of capabilities in support of a wide range of use cases

  • Innovative, patented technology, allowing for real-time integration of massive amounts of data

  • Optimized solutions for both analytical and operational workloads

  • Support for mesh, fabric, and hub architectures, operating on-premise, in the cloud, or in hybrid environments

  • Enterprise focus, with vast experience and in-depth understanding

  • No small/mid-sized customers

  • Suitable for large enterprises, with complex data integration use cases

  • Few system integration partners outside North America and Europe

 

IICS
(Informatica)

  • Market leader

  • Broad integration offering, suitable for both cloud and hybrid environments

  • AI-powered, autonomous platform

  • Need for better technical support for, and incident interactions with, customers wishing to migrate existing on-premise workloads

  • Little use of the platform’s API-based application and process integration capabilities

  • Complex and ambitious roadmap to synergize with an extended range of automated operational and data intelligence

 

Boomi

  • Enterprise platform, suitable for companies of every size

  • Good brand recognition

  • Targeted to specific industries

  • Platform (recently acquired from Dell by Francisco Partners) needs to be field-tested in terms of functionality and pricing

 

Oracle

  • Broad set of EiPaaS capabilities

  • Good sales execution

  • Large partner network with global reach

  • Customer satisfaction issues surrounding Oracle support

  • Challenges navigating the various pricing models

  • Fears that customers integrating non-Oracle applications may be limited to the company’s partner network

 

SAP

  • Broad offering, supporting many different integration scenarios

  • Large global installed base, with a targeted Business/IT sales approach

  • Process-oriented, pre-packaged integrations in the future

  • Platform focused on SAP users alone

  • Little support for on-premise deployment

  • Certain features dependent on third-party vendors such as Cloud Elements, Google (Apigee), and Solace.

 

MORE ON DATA FABRIC

Learn all about Data Fabric,
the ultimate iPaaS for the enterprise,
and why you should care

This complete guide addresses the what, why, how, and who of data fabric,
including its architecture, challenges, benefits, core capabilities, vendors, and more.

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