The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

March - 2003 - issue > Cover Feature

The New Age Of Integration

Fred Meyer
Thursday, February 27, 2003
Fred Meyer
OVER THE PAST HALF DOZEN YEARS, TREMENDOUS strides have been made integrating disparate software systems. Flexibility, visibility and degree of control have all improved to a level that was only a dream when the term EAI was coined. Yet in this article, I will argue that the benefits to be achieved by integration are almost entirely ahead of us. Most systems are still isolated. Many processes that could be automated are manual. Development and administration tools need further refinement. Most important, the true value of integration is the new things it enables

With any technology come opportunities which are only indirectly related to its adoption: As surely as automobiles begat pizza delivery, and TCP/IP enabled The Internet, integration technologies will make way for new business optimization and management strategies which are only dimly visible today.

How do we get there? What do we want from our integration tool sets? It is not perfect generality, because generality is unachievable with any foreseeable technology. Further, generality brings with it complexity. It is not about features, or technology. Rather, I propose that the goal of system integration is to reduce the complexity of multicomponent software systems.

I focus on complexity reduction because it is the surest way to drive improvement: From cost reduction to better decision making, the ease with which people understand their environment and the consequent quality of their decisions are the drivers of process improvement. The implication is that the integration challenge is not entirely solvable by any single approach or software suite. Just as routers did not displace servers, and databases did not displace file systems; EAI tools, app servers and new technologies will all prosper as the market becomes segmented.

A functional division already exists between ‘classic’ EAI systems, which provide extremely general feature sets and typically assume the existence of little or no standardization, and n-tier development platforms (app servers, .NET, etc.), which are more technology-specific and therefore somewhat lighter and less general. The emerging space between is beginning to fill with companies focused on Application Routers, Web Services, and other technologies that require the existence of standards and earlier generations of integration technology.

Share on Twitter
Share on LinkedIn
Share on facebook