Imagine being a planner in a supply chain industry who plans the shipment of products three months in advance. You need to know the weather forecasts of the routes for your planned shipments. Getting this information from external parties is a tedious process that will eat away a day’s job. Knowing that there exists a weather forecast service that obtains real-time data, will you not want to access this info from the on-premise enterprise planning system to efficiently perform your day-to-day planning?
With tons of cloud applications around us, integrating and consuming data from these cloud apps has become the need of the hour. The boundaries of old premise-based enterprise world and the new cloud universe is blurring day by day. The foundation of such significantly popular hybrid integration scenarios is – our very own APIs.
APIs are the magic ingredients in the ever-evolving recipe of hybrid integration where big on-premise solutions (our so-called Old Giants!) seamlessly talk to the cloud world.
Following are some key pointers to consider when various cloud applications can be seamlessly integrated to on-premise platforms to cater to enterprise needs.
I. Integration via Well-Defined APIs
For enterprise solutions to seamlessly integrate and take advantage of relevant cloud APIs, it is vital that the cloud applications expose their functionality as resource-based APIs. Protocols such as REST and SOAP Web Services can be used for opening such APIs. These APIs must expose a domain model or a business functionality without allowing direct access to internal functionality.
- Exposure of Open API on Cloud
Many of the extensively used cloud apps provide open APIs (like Facebook, Google, Twitter etc.) which can be used to integrate to enterprise applications. There are many scenarios where integration to cloud based Open APIs cater to enhancing enterprise applications. The weather service integration or an effective transport route determination can be considered as common examples in this context.
Golden Rule to be considered – “Every application must expose its core APIs considering domain driven design, without depending on additional components in Cloud”.
- Efficient extension of the Cloud APIs to evolve the functional scope
Extension or enhancement is the key to evolve any product over time and our APIs are no different.
Organizations provisioning the APIs enhance them with more features and functionalities for a broader scope consideration.
However, it needs to be carefully considered that APIs generally are the backbones of carefully crafted integration scope. Any disruption to the existing version of the API might lead into severe consequences from API consumption perspective.
II. Usage of an Integration Platform to make Life Easy
Mediated Integration or process integration platforms allow to integrate various business processes spanning different companies or organizations. An event triggered from a business process in one application can call real-time or near real-time fetch of data from the follow-on business process in another application.
The Process Integration mechanism can follow one of the three patterns:
- Initiate and wait
- Notify and continue
- Synchronous request/response
Here, the data model, messaging patterns, and technical protocols are aligned between the involved applications. Process Integration can be used for a cloud to cloud or for a cloud with on-premise integration scenario.
III. Identification of the Precise API
It’s utmost critical to define accurate Integration Scenario for Hybrid Integration business processes. Only when the end-to-end scenarios are defined, then the identification of correct APIs on the specific cloud platforms can be done.
From API provisioning organization’s perspective, the extensive and precise documentation of the APIs is a key to get the API identified for a specific scenario.
However, from API consumption perspective, knowledge building of the end-to-end scenario and implementing the API in the intended fashion makes the hybrid integration work efficiently with less hassle with respect to time and money.
Overall, there are many other aspects to consider while implementing efficient On-premise to API based Cloud Integration. The above aspects can be treated as starting pointers for food for thought to carve the path to Cloud!!