In part 1 of this blog, I provided a broad outline of my Hybrid Cloud Integration Radar research paper, recently completed. I detailed the reasons why EMA chose to undertake this research and listed the vendors/products included in the study.

With this entry, I’m following up with additional details regarding the key premises of the paper, the criteria used in the evaluation, and the weighting of each assessed area. In undertaking the research, the high level assumption was that every product had strong Integration features. In other words, all are first-rate integration solutions, with many of the vendors also delivering additional products to serve a broad range of use cases (not just hybrid Cloud). However, since the topic was “Hybrid Cloud Integration”, the corollary was that each product also has features supporting Cloud integrations. Within these broad assumptions, there were certain minimum criteria, and, of course, “ideal” criteria.

Minimum Criteria
For the purposes of the study, the term “hybrid Cloud” encompasses multiple scenarios, all of which include integration between multiple sources, applications, or services. To be considered for this research, the product must support at least one of the following four use cases:

  • Integrations between on-premise applications and any “flavor” of generic public Cloud, including Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), or Software as a Service (SaaS)
  • Public Cloud integrations, such as SaaS to SaaS or IaaS to IaaS connections
  • Integrations between on-premise applications and those hosted on a public or private Cloud by a supplier, partner, or industry-specific Cloud provider
  • Similar connected, distributed applications that execute beyond the reach of the traditional private data center.

Ideal Criteria
The ideal criteria reflect a rigorous interpretation of the factors that distinguish “Cloud-ready” integration solutions. They include, beyond the base criteria:

  • Generation of a holistic model of the integration in context to the end-to-end transaction and/or business process it supports
  • Comparatively simple product implementation, ideally with minimal consulting required
  • Breadth of training options, ideally including self-service, online, and similar less expensive options
  • Multiple levels of customer support, support costs commensurate with service level
  • Clear avenues of communication between vendor and customer, ideally including vendor-sponsored conferences/groups/product input opportunities
  • Pre-built connectors for the most popular SaaS, PaaS (fourteen popular SaaS and PaaS vendors), and IaaS vendors (five vendors assessed)– more connectors yields a higher score
  • Support for popular virtualization technologies (which in turn support applications running in private Cloud and IaaS) (five vendors assessed)– more connectors yields a higher score
  • Connectors and proven integrations with third-party event/fault management, CMDB/CMS, and Software Configuration Management solutions (to support centralized management of processing errors, transaction/service models, and Change Management respectively)
  • Strong security-related features (twelve data points assessed)
  • Support for near real time data updates
  • Support for evolving capabilities such as high-speed data transfers, machine to machine (M2M), Big Data, and Hadoop
  • Strong partnerships with public Cloud vendors (to promote timely updates to APIs and connectors as Cloud applications, schemas, and their configurations change).

Weightings
The weightings reflect the fact that the topic of this research study was “hybrid Cloud integration” instead of simply “integration”. Core features were weighted more heavily than non-core features:

  • Breadth of Cloud environments supported: This was the most heavily weighted category as it covers the key components that make up today’s Cloud deployments—and therefore those most often mentioned by users as being the focus of hybrid Cloud integration projects:
    1. Specific support (connectors or APIs) for fourteen popular SaaS and PaaS vendors
    2. Specific support (connectors or APIs) for five popular IaaS vendors
    3. Specific support (connectors or APIs) for five popular virtualization vendors
  • Other areas of higher weighting include:
    1. Breadth of customer support options
    2. Overall level of automation (such as GUI-based setup versus scripting, etc.)
    3. Breadth of pricing and licensing options
    4. Usability and ease of use.

The survey supporting this research also assessed vendors in terms of their “manageability”. In other words, does the product “play well” with enterprise management tools by sharing their data? However, to be fair to the vendors in the study, actual integration capabilities were more heavily weighted than “outlier” functionality such as monitoring and management support. Although EMA views manageability as being essential to a well-rounded integration platform, integration with third party management solutions is, admittedly, functionality which some vendors have not yet fully integrated into their solutions.

EMA will continue to follow the emerging hybrid Cloud integration marketplace throughout 2013, and will update this blog with news in this space.

Feel free to download the free summary version of the report at: www.emausa.com and/or sign up for my December 4 webinar on this topic at:
http://research.enterprisemanagement.com/hybrid-cloud-radar-webinar-ws.html

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