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The Past, Present and Future of Enterprise Integration

by Jan Stenberg on Mar 17, 2016 | NOTICE: The next QCon is in San Francisco Nov 7-11, 2016. Join us!

The way companies use integration technologies have changed significantly during the last 10 years. It will also will continue to change the coming 10 years, Senaka Fernando claimed in his presentation at the recent QCon London conference when describing his view on enterprise integration the last 10 years, todays situation and what he believes the next 10 years will bring.

Looking back at the last 10 years Fernando, solutions architect at WSO2, notes some important shifts in technology:

  • Service communication has gone from XML through SOAP and WS-* into today’s REST architectural style. Modern applications may more easily interact with a REST API which Fernando believes is one reason for why services have transitioned from traditional SOAP Web services into more flexible REST based services.
  • Infrastructure has gone from everything on premise to today’s use of the cloud, with containers gaining a lot of attention.
  • The way we interact with systems have changed substantially. We used to work with PCs and web based interface, nowadays it’s a lot about mobile systems, but also Internet of Things (IoT) with applications running on systems almost everywhere.

A challenge that Fernando emphasizes is that although the world around us changes rapidly, humans don’t change that much. Our expectations and requirements are the same, companies still need to work with its customers and partners, and create solutions that are productive. The primary objectives of any business has changed very little during the last ten years, but the way we realize these objectives are changing. In the same way enterprise integration goals stay the same but the ways we use technology changes. This has been the trend in the last ten years and Fernando is sure it will be the trend for the 10-15 years to come.

Looking into the current state of integration technologies Fernando notes that the way systems are connected are rapidly changing. We used to have a silo world with some applications for internal use and others specifically created for different external usages. Today these are all connected and all businesses look into ways of utilizing the potential in all these systems. All this is done with a primary objective of creating a more tightly integrated and connected environment.

Thinking about where businesses are heading in the next 10 years Fernando notes a few points:

  • Data as currency. There is a lot of potential in all the data a business owns that may be useful for the business itself or for others.
  • Polyglot architectures. We will be using various types of data repositories and architectures for all kinds of devices. The whole ecosystem will be spread out working with different technologies and running on premise, in the cloud and so on.
  • Microservices are not much understood today, how to use them practically is still challenging. Fernando believes we should think twice and question if we really need and get any benefits from them.

Again, Fernando emphasizes that humans can remain almost the same, but business can’t, referring to Nokia as one example.

Fernando concludes with three key points:

  • Integration is not a new problem and will never be an old problem – it just changes face.
  • Every modern business needs to be a connected business.
  • Iteration is key to keeping up with enterprise challenges.

The slides from Fernandos presentation are available here.

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