Meet application integration in the times of hybrid cloud

The concept of agile integration, depending on whom you ask, may appear as a contradiction in terms. Integration is a concept that used to be associated with “slow,” “monolithic,” “only to be touched by the expert team,” etc.. Big and complex legacy enterprise service buses connected to your applications were the technology of choice at a time when agility was not a requirement, when the cloud was barely an idea, when containers were associated with maritime shipping and not with application packaging and delivery.

Can the principles of agile development be combined with those of modern integration? Our response is yes, and we call it  agile integration. Let me show you what it is, why it is important, and what we at Red Hat are doing about it.

Software development methodologies have evolved rapidly in the last few years to incorporate innovative concepts that result in faster development cycles, agility to react to changes and immediate business value. Development now takes place in small teams, changes can be approved and incorporated fast to keep track of the changing demands of the business, and each iteration of the code has a product as the ultimate result. No more need for longer development cycles and never-ending approvals for changes. And importantly, business and technical users join forces and collaborate to optimize the end result.

In addition, modern integration requires agility, cloud-readiness, and support of modern integration approaches. In contrast with the legacy, monolithic ESBs, modern integration is lightweight, pattern-based, scalable, and able to manage complex, distributed environments. It has to be cloud-ready and support modern architectures and deployment models like containers. It also has to provide integration services with new, popular technologies, like API management, which is becoming the preferred way to integrate applications and is at the core of microservices architectures. And support innovative and fast evolving use cases such as the Internet of Things (IoT).

Increasingly our customers and the market, in general, are demanding that this agility gets closer to the business user. “Historically, one of the biggest challenges our integration clients face is how to create complex integrations with simple, cloud-ready innovative tools utilizing lightweight and pattern-based technology,” says Farhan Hussain, general manager of our North American partner Levvel

One reason is that data is a valuable asset, it is distributed across IT environments, and it is used by different applications. Business users and citizen developers do not have tools to understand how these integrations work, much less to define and design them so they make business sense. 

We have expanded our integration offering with Red Hat Fuse Online, Red Hat’s iPaaS – integration platform as a service. It is part of Red Hat Fuse 7, which we launched recently after having been available for a few months as a tech preview. In the words of Luca Pedrazzini, sole director of our international partner Sorint.Lab Spa, “The announcement of Red Hat Fuse 7 is a great signal of Red Hat’s focus on real business needs. […] We are proud to collaborate with Red Hat to add innovation, flexibility, and agility to customers’ digital business.”

There is excitement about Red Hat’s cloud-native integration. Ian Page, managing consultant, for middleware at our UK partner Tier 2 Consulting, looks at it this way: “As well as the many new Camel components, updated frameworks […] Red Hat Fuse 7 now offers a choice of three development options: JBoss Enterprise Application Platform for JEE users, Karaf for OSGi, or Spring Boot for lightweight integrations and microservices. […] There is no longer a distinction between on-premise or cloud-based deployment: the same product can be used either standalone or in the cloud with Red Hat’s OpenShift Container Platform.  The look and feel of the management console […] will aid the transition to cloud-based deployments.”

And the excitement is global, both for newer and for veteran partners. Our Latin American partner Summan has been working with JBoss Fuse for the past three years. In words of Felipe Posada Tobón, senior vice president of business development, “We as a system integrator are excited for the new version of Red Hat Fuse, because we have seen an increasing adoption by our clients of  EIP (Enterprise Integration Patterns) for the development of integrations across the entire company. […] We have seen that there is space for cloud and hybrid (cloud/on-premise) deployments and a microservices oriented architecture […]. We see the new Red Hat Fuse 7 platform perfectly suited for the task ahead, by providing iPaaS (Integration As A Service) and stand-alone capabilities, increasing our opportunities to provide services and developments.”

With Red Hat Fuse at its core, citizen developers now have the power of our advanced integration offering at their fingertips with Fuse Online. We are offering users self-service with our comprehensive, browser-based tooling, which enables complex integrations to be created with drag-and-drop tools, making it blazing fast to prototype a new project or modify an existing one. Kent Eudy, Technical director of enterprise integration, microservices, and containers practice at our North American partner Vizuri, thinks that “while traditional enterprise service bus technologies are too slow to change and scale, Fuse Online extends the agile platform of JBoss Fuse and its Camel framework—delivering a powerful platform to develop, manage and execute complex enterprise integrations.”

Fuse Online offers improvements working with business users, which is now easier than ever, and this helps increases collaboration and speed. “We’re looking forward to seeing Red Hat’s iPaaS accelerate our customers’ success by helping them increase collaboration and speed,” says Farhan Hussain of Levvel.

As you can see, bridging the gap between developers and business users is a key objective of Red Hat Fuse 7, and organizations like our North American partner Logimethods agree. Bob Seney, their vice president of business solutions and CTO, reflects on that. “Fuse 7 empowers both developers and operators alike providing better productivity through a low-code environment combined with a choice of deployment options for addressing multiple types of integration workloads including on-premise, cloud, and hybrid integrations.”  He adds: “Thanks to Fuse 7’s native support of Red Hat’s OpenShift Container Platform, companies can be assured that their investments in Fuse 7 are future-proofed.”

Combined with continuous delivery, Fuse Online provides reliability and consistency in the testing and provisioning of these individual integration services in an automated way. Fuse 7 is also ready to enable small independently deployable yet connected integration components that can be created and easily deployed and scaled with Red Hat OpenShift. Another important factor is monitoring integration. In the words of Steve Ross-Talbot, CTO of our UK-based partner Estafet, “We are delighted that Fuse 7 has direct support for Open Tracing […] This feature will enable wider adoption of Fuse as a platform for building small independently deployable yet connected integration components (micro integrations) which in turn helps to ensure businesses remain agile to change and can scale rapidly.” And, as the result can be packaged as a container, it is ready to run in Red Hat OpenShift, with all the added benefits of containers, such as portability and security across the hybrid cloud. 

I could hardly do a better job at summarizing the value of Red Hat Fuse 7 than Conor Brankin, CEO of our international partner Crossvale: “Using Fuse Online’s intelligent integration and OpenShift compatibility, organizations will be able to better align product development to business priorities enabling faster delivery of value to customers.”

Other words from our partners

Conor Brankin, CEO, Crossvale
“Already a powerful integration platform, Fuse 7 introduces flexibility to improve the team members’ skills and experience all within an agile environment. Using Fuse Online’s intelligent integration and OpenShift compatibility, organizations will be able to better align product development to business priorities enabling faster delivery of value to customers.”

Steve Ross-Talbot, CTO, Estafet
“Estafet has always believed in engineering excellence backed by both people, process and tools. In a world that is increasingly distributed and crying to be ever more connected, Fuse 7 represents a significant uplift in capability, enabling small independently deployable integration components to be created and easily deployed and scaled. But as we add more and more such components to the mix it becomes inevitable that things go wrong. At Estafet, we have been involved in the use of Open Tracing and Jaeger and the longer term future direction of distributed monitoring through our partnership with Red Hat and various academic institutions. So we are delighted that Fuse 7 has direct support for Open Tracing so that we can ensure that integration components can be brought under effective control from development all the way into production. This feature will enable wider adoption of Fuse as a platform for building small independently deployable yet connected integration components  (micro integrations) which in turn helps to ensure businesses remain agile to change and can scale rapidly. We think this along with the many other features ensure that Fuse will stand out as the premier integration platform.”

Farhan Hussain, General Manager, Levvel
“We are excited about Red Hat Fuse Online and its simplicity in solving complex integration problems for our customers. Many companies know they need to achieve higher release velocity and improved reliability using approaches like microservices architecture and more modern development and operations tools. Historically, one of the biggest challenges our integration clients face is how to create complex integrations with simple, cloud-ready innovative tools utilizing lightweight and pattern-based technology. We’re looking forward to seeing Red Hat’s iPaaS (integration platform as a service) accelerate our customers’ success by helping them increase collaboration and speed.”

Bob Seney, Vice-President Business Solutions and CTO, Logimethods
“Fuse 7 empowers both developers and operators alike providing better productivity through a low-code environment combined with a choice of deployment options for addressing multiple types of integration workloads including on-premise, cloud, and hybrid integrations. Thanks to Fuse 7’s native support of Red Hat’s OpenShift Container Platform, companies can be assured that their investments in Fuse 7 are future-proofed.”

Luca Pedrazzini, Sole Director, Sorint.Lab Spa
“Many of our customers need to have their applications and IT systems in sync to be competitive. Integration is becoming a roadblock for many of them. The announcement of Red Hat Fuse 7 is a great signal Red Hat’s focus on real business needs. Introducing three major features (online, on-premise, or container) allows more agile integration, necessary to align with hybrid-cloud and microservices architectures. We are proud to collaborate with Red Hat to add innovation, flexibility and agility to customers’ digital business.”

Felipe Posada Tobón, Senior VicePresident of Business Development, SUMMAN S.A.S
Summan has been working with JBoss Fuse for the past three years, and we have seen a great success on its adoption. Our customers have invested heavily on the developers skills in order to provide good quality integrations, and they have seen the return of investment in a short manner, due to the fast adoption of the Camel framework, and the time to market has been reduced because of this. We as a system integrator are excited for the new version of Red Hat Fuse, because we have seen an increasing adoption by our clients of  EIP (Enterprise Integration Patterns) for the development of integrations across the entire company and they are thrilled by the huge performance boost the platform has and the simplicity of the management and deployment schemes, and we have seen that there is space for cloud and hybrid (cloud/on-premise) deployments and a microservices oriented architecture based on Docker and Kubernetes. We see the new Red Hat Fuse 7 platform perfectly suited for the task ahead, by providing iPaaS (Integration As A Service) and stand-alone capabilities, increasing our opportunities to provide services and developments.”

Ian Page – Managing Consultant, Middleware – Tier 2 Consulting
“It’s great to see that the eagerly anticipated Red Hat Fuse 7 had been released.  As well as the many new Camel components, updated frameworks, and the slight name change, there are some more fundamental changes.  It now offers a choice of three development options: JBoss Enterprise Application Platform for JEE users, Karaf for OSGi, or Spring Boot for lightweight integrations and microservices.  In addition there is no longer a distinction between on-premise or cloud-based deployment: the same product can be used either standalone or in the cloud with Red Hat’s OpenShift Container Platform.  The look and feel of the management console has been aligned with that of other Red Hat tools, especially OpenShift, which will aid the transition to cloud-based deployments. I’m convinced that Red Hat Fuse 7 will be a major contribution to simplifying the challenging task of enterprise integration.”

Kent Eudy, Technical Director of Enterprise Integration, Microservices and Containers Practice, Vizuri
Agile integration complements the microservice architectures and API management strategies our customers increasingly favor. Simply put, it allows enterprise integrations to keep pace with rapidly changing environments. While traditional Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) technologies are too slow to change and scale, Fuse Online extends the agile platform of JBoss Fuse and its Camel framework—delivering a powerful platform to develop, manage and execute complex enterprise integrations.

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