Integrating in the cloud with IIB
Application integration in the cloud is a thing of normalcy now. IBM’s integration products such as WebSphere Message Broker, in previous years, have been major competitors in the on premise integration battle. However, with the big push to integrating in the cloud, there has been an urgency to perform business quickly and efficiently in an on demand option.
Until recently, IBM had not positioned its premium integration products in this market. With IIB on the cloud, IBM is now positioning it as “a fully managed Integration Bus environment that helps your business start projects quickly and easily by enabling you to deploy integration solutions on the cloud without the need to acquire and maintain an IT infrastructure.”* So let’s take a look at IBM’s Integration Bus on the Cloud.
Is IIB on the Cloud ready for the market? Having a quick look at the functions available, there are a restricted set of nodes as compared to the advanced version. But it will mean that if you have an existing integration, you will need to take this into consideration if you were to migrate to the cloud. Not a huge problem. Many a developer has worked around that. So it isn’t yet, a drop in replacement, but maybe that’s not what IBM is aiming for. Instead, it will allow developers to trial it against other cloud options. Is it stable? Hmmmm, not quite yet. Playing with the software, it feels more like a test suite rather than a ready for market product. The platform hangs with disturbing frequency and user interface is minimal and efficient-ish. What can I get from the software? What you get all depends on the level you purchase. I think the pricing model they have provided is a great way to get new players or interested parties in the door quickly. With the free version, there is little to stop someone from setting up a trial to see how it will work for them. There is then an easy transition to the next level, On Demand, that ensures clients that want to proceed further aren’t hindered by administrative steps. So with all this in mind, IIB on the Cloud now fits the new paradigm of release early and release often.
If you’re interested in having a play with the tool, you can find instructions on how to get started here. It takes you to the Cloud Shop where you can choose between the three different levels of the software: Free, On Demand and Subscription. Once registered, you are free to experiment! (You may have to be patient, it takes a while for the system to know you have registered to use IIB on the cloud even if you get the email saying you’re ready to go.) But what do you get at each level?
I’ve only played with the Free version, which is startlingly limited, but what can you expect. So let’s have a better look at the Free version and how it compares to the On Demand version. The main difference between the Free and On Demand versions are the number of integration solutions allowed and the memory allocated to each. The free version allows you one integration solution and 1 GB of memory. This means that you can have multiple flows etc but they all have to be packaged in one bar file. The On Demand version however lets you have unlimited integration solutions and 4 GB per integration solution. I haven’t bothered looking at the Subscription model, if you are so inclined, IBM would be a better place to find answers.
So in short, I believe that as it stands, IIB on the Cloud is quite under prepared for such a mature market. It is unstable with real limited functionality. However, with the higher levels of software, you are able to work around these limitations quite readily. On the good side, the product has a clear pricing for each level which is inclusive of hosting and licensing and allows for scalability across each level easily. Give it a couple more months and hopefully IBM have worked out the kinks and we may start to see more of it in the market.
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Christine Medley is the Consulting Product Manager at Syntegrity Solutions, a specialist IT consultancy that focuses on digital innovation enablement. She has over 10 years experience in the IT industry and has consulted on enterprise integration and connectivity including top-tier banks and major retail companies.