Introduction 

We all have heard the buzzword of the decades like cloud, internet of things, artificial intelligence. But do we really know what it means? Let us try to understand what cloud integration means. Cloud means data that is stored in virtual space like one drive, google drive, etc. integration as the name suggests means combining or connecting things. To put this understanding in simple terms, cloud integration is a system of tools and technologies that help connect different applications, data sets, IT systems that can be modified to suit a real-time exchange. Once the integration is completed, you can access the services from multiple devices and networks without any restrictions. 

This offers a great deal of flexibility to users as the user does not need to stick to the same device, a system to access the information stored on the system. If it is stored on the cloud it can be accessed from any location, device, or network in the world. 

  1. What is Cloud Integration?
  2. Cloud integration tools
  3. Cloud integration platforms
  4. The challenges of cloud integration
  5. Cloud integration methodologies

1) What is Cloud Integration?

Cloud integration is a technique by which various systems, applications, and IT environments are connected for real-time exchange of information and processes. It was created to limit data silos and bring in flexibility to optimize business processes. SaaS is one of the popular applications of cloud integration. More and more businesses are adopting a hybrid of SaaS and physical applications moving into futuristic technologies. 

Usually, cloud automation platforms use adapters or connectors that are device components designed to communicate with individual business applications. A unified GUI or broker that manages encryption and authentication may also be introduced by a cloud integration framework, while specific adapters fit the apps being incorporated. Cloud automation systems usually use an application-independent data format for data integration, such as extensible markup language. Before doing any translations or transformations, each connector can convert the basic format of the application to an individual format, and will then share the common data with the receiving application.

2) Cloud integration tools

Cloud integration’s ultimate aim is to connect the diverse components of different cloud and local resources into a common, ubiquitous ecosystem that enables administrators to access and control software, files, services, and systems seamlessly.

Most organizations use third-party cloud integration tools such as iPaaS i.e. integration platform as a service. Let us have a look at a few cloud integration tools. 

  1. Dell Boomi: This integration tool allows users to design cloud-based integration processes called Atoms. Boomi allows its users to access data between the cloud and physical premises. 
  2. IBM App Connect: it enables the admin to define workflows that decide how data is moved from one system to the other.
  3. MuleSoft Anypoint Platform: this includes a variety of tools for developing, testing, and managing APIs i.e. Application programming interfaces. 
  4. Microsoft Azure logic apps: this integration tool allows Workflow that connect applications and data through cloud platforms and on-site systems are automated by administrators.
  5. Apache Libcloud: This Python library enables administrators to use a single application programming interface to handle multiple cloud services (API). 

3) Cloud integration platforms

Cloud integration platforms are available that can bring your different cloud-based applications together, allow you to access their details, and even simplify all your business processes in one single interface. Let us have a look at a few cloud integration platforms. 

1. Zapier: Zapier can simplify virtually any form of business operation with the ability to connect to and exchange data with over 1,000 mobile applications, such as Facebook, QuickBooks, and Google Drive. You only need to create a workflow in their editor, select and plan the applications that you want to use in your workflow.

2. PieSync: PieSync leverages the 2-Way Sync Intelligent technologies to refresh the details of every user in one app after it shifts in the other. The cloud connectivity software also allows you full control of the applications you want to sync, consolidates different apps’ user details, and saves and updates all the data in one location so that you can view it and make the most informed business data-driven choices.

3. Jitterbit: JitterBit lets you merge thousands of SaaS, cloud, and on-premises applications into one GUI as one of the leaders in the iPaaS space. To simplify your company practices, you can also use their pre-built models and workflows. In addition, on their API framework, you can build new APIs from your current business apps or info.

4) The challenges of cloud integration

As we have learned so far, cloud integration allows its users to have a great deal of flexibility but it comes with a few challenges. These challenges mainly originate from the lack of standardization. 

In order to incorporate cloud services, there is no universal or common solution. Different programs, tools, and utilities often use different connectivity mechanisms, making it difficult to build and manage the connectors required to communicate with the different cloud and local environment components. Software upgrades and patches can modify the way certain programs interact and may entail time-consuming updates to the connector. A cloud integration initiative may be disrupted by additional problems. As integrations may be complicated, technological skills and, in some situations, dedicated personnel are required to handle them.

5) Cloud integration methodologies

Cloud integration can be of multiple types such as cloud to cloud integration, cloud to on-premise interaction, or sometimes a combination of both. Both data and applications can be integrated using this technology. 

  1. Data integration: The synchronization of repositories of data. During data integration, data may be stored, transported, and/or converted. This is a partnership solely linked to data.
  2. Application integration: Connects different systems and organizes continued interoperability and flexibility. This is more than sharing info. To cause business activities or operations, it includes issuing requests and orders.

Conclusion

Businesses have the ability to develop their own one the best cloud integration tool or create cloud-based integrations using a third-party vendor. However, as the number of apps grows and cloud integrations become more complicated, creating specialized in-house integrations that must be recreated for each project becomes much less flexible. Using a cloud integration tool empowers companies to use an agile, flexible, reusable approach to execute both device and data integration.

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