Six typical integration challenges that agile integration can solve

Red Hat conceived the agile integration concept to help our customers tackle integration challenges more effectively. As we described in an earlier post in detail, agile integration is an architectural approach centered around application programming interfaces (APIs) and API management. At its core, this concept resides on the following three pillars: distributed integration for greater flexibility, containers for the ability to scale better, and managed APIs for re-usability and hence speed.

When we started designing this concept we actually started from two premises:

  1. Agility today is the most important business capability — especially for incumbents in traditional markets.
  2. Every organisation has integration problems.

Typically in most companies nowadays the integration function is centralized and hence technically as well as organizationally a bottleneck. Our two premises contradict each other and we set out to design an integration concept that can solve this contradiction.

In order to come up with a solution that really helps our customers solve their integration problems in the best possible way, we first analysed the market to understand what actually are the problems that users are trying to solve. Although there are of course a very wide variety of often very fine-nuanced problems, it turned out that we could classify all the problems into six typical integration challenges. The following diagram summarizes these challenges and we then discuss each of them in more detail.

Agile Integration: Six Challenges

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Announcing: Red Hat Fuse 7 is now available

After several technical previews over the last few months, Red Hat Fuse is officially available. This is a significant release, both for Fuse itself and for integration platforms, because it represents a shift from more traditional, on-premise, centralized integration architecture to distributed, hybrid environment integration architecture.

Integration itself has historically been a bottleneck for infrastructure design and changes. The integration points were largely centralized and controlled by a central team in an attempt to manage dependencies and standardize data management between applications. However, that centralization also made change difficult, and it was governed more by procedure and bureaucracy than business innovation. As with traditional infrastructure architecture more generally, integration has not historically been an agile or adaptive architecture.

Red Hat Fuse (and related community projects) is the beginning of a departure from traditional, rigid integration platforms to more agile, distributed integration design. Fuse introduces three major features in the latest release:

  • Fuse Online, fully hosted Fuse applications and integrations. Fuse Online provides immediate access to the functionality of Fuse, without having to install and configure it on-premise. Developers can begin testing and customizing integrations immediately. Connectors can be uploaded to the online development area to allow even more integrations.
  • Fuse container images for Red Hat OpenShift. Fuse runs natively on OpenShift, allowing local, containerized integration points to be created in development teams and to be designed, tested, and updated within DevOps workflows as part of the overall application development cycle.
  • A drag-and-drop UI for integration pattern design. While integration development is typically done within IT teams, integration design relies on business knowledge. Business managers and analysts need to be able to collaborate effectively with their development teams. The new Fuse Ignite UI (based on the Syndesis.io project) is a lowcode way to develop integration — business users can use design elements to create integration architectures and to work with their development teams, within the same tool set.

These three features allow more agile integration development. Fuse installations can span online, on-premise, or container based environments without reducing functionality. This allows an integration platform that crosses environments, and be as lightweight and decentralized as an individual development team or an enterprise-wide platform. The lowcode UI allows business users to be brought directly into the application development cycle, enabling business logic to be incorporated into the integration application design from the beginning.

Additionally, Fuse 7 contains these new features:

  • Support for Spring Boot deployment for Fuse applications
  • 50 new application connectors (with a total of over 200 included connectors)
  • A new monitoring subsystem
  • Updated component versions, including new versions of Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform and Apache Camel
  • A new name (Red Hat Fuse, rather than Red Hat JBoss Fuse)

 

Additional Resources

The Role of Agile Integration in Open Banking

In the mid 90s, Bill Gates famously said that “banking is necessary, banks are not.” There is certainly a lot of truth in this statement. We all need banking services in some shape or form. But who delivers these services to us is secondary. In fact, Accenture concluded in a study conducted in 2016 asking over 30,000 people in 18 countries that if the tech titans like Google, Amazon, or Facebook would offer such services, 31% of the respondents would switch to them. This clearly imposes a significant threat on traditional banking institutions.

Another challenge that banks are facing worldwide are the increasing demands for regulatory compliance with respect to openness. Such regulations include, for instance, Payment Services Directive 2 (PSD2) in Europe, the Amendment Bill to Japanese Banking Law in Japan, the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) with the Unified Payment Interface, UK’s Open Banking standard by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), or the Open Banking Regime by Australia’s Federal Government. Banks approach these regulatory challenges in many different ways. Some see it as a serious business threat and only do the bare minimum for compliance; others see it as an opportunity and with smart investment start building banking platforms for the future.

Our suggestion for building the banking platform of the future resides on the principles of agile integration, which is an architectural approach centered around application programming interfaces (APIs) and API management. At its core, agile integration resides on the three pillars: distributed integration for greater flexibility, containers for the ability to scale better, and managed APIs for re-usability and hence speed. We described the details in an earlier post.  

Continue reading “The Role of Agile Integration in Open Banking”

How to Address the Challenges of a Pervasive Integration Strategy

Earlier this months at the Gartner ITxpo event, Massimo Pezzini presented the challenges that must be addressed by a pervasive enterprise integration strategy. In summary there are four types of hybrid challenges (see Massimo’s diagram below).

Gartner-HiP

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