Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Cast Iron takes 'integration as a service' to cloud-based or on-premises deployment

Cast Iron Systems is striking a new pose by putting template-driven integration services in the cloud, offering customers a choice between cloud-based and on-premise "integration as a service."

The new cloud-based solution from the Mountain View, Calif. company will allow enterprises to rapidly connect software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions with other on-demand and on-premise applications.

This ability to integrate applications across hybrid deployment types is critical for enterprises to increasingly move to cloud-based and SaaS models. More than not, applications will come from several sources, and so the integrations becomes the enabler of the models ongoing use and success.

At the heart of the Cast Iron integration service is a cloud-based library of template integration processes (TIPs) for the most common SaaS business processes, based on Cast Iron’s experience with thousands of customer integrations.

For example, if customers need to integrate two SaaS applications, they can search the TIPs library, choose the TIP that matches their scenario, and deploy it to the cloud. Their SaaS-to-SaaS integration project goes live rather than taking weeks, or even months to develop with custom code. Also, SaaS integrations can now be monitored from anywhere, anytime using the Cast Iron Cloud. Sharing of templates widely is encouraged.

In addition, for companies that want to customize TIPs based on their specific requirements, Cast Iron provides a self-guided wizard similar to the simple wizard-based experience in popular products like Intuit TurboTax. Users answer a few questions based on the specific situation, and the integration process is automatically customized to expedite SaaS integration and adoption.

The integration services can be accessed via the Cast Iron Cloud, on-premises deployments, as well as via both physical and virtual appliances, says Cast Iron.

Curt Monash of DBMS2 says that the move by Cast Iron isn’t the first such offering, but seems to be the most comprehensive:
The most comprehensive integration-as-a-service story I’ve heard may be the one Cast Iron Systems is rolling out. Cast Iron is hosting with OpSource any integration you can get in the Cast Iron appliance. To emphasize this, pricing is identical to that of the rental option for the appliance ($1K/month in the simplest two-endpoint cases), and customers are encouraged to switch between appliance and cloud usage as they see fit.
At the same time, Cast Iron announced a SaaS partner program, which is calls Powered by Cast Iron. This is designed to provide integration solutions for SaaS independent software vendors, value-added resellers, system integrators, and OEMs by combining leading products, service methodologies, and customized sales and marketing strategies.

Among the SaaS providers already participating in the program are Gearworks, Intelenex, Serene Corp., Taleo, and Xactly.