Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Cast Iron launches integration platform to help pull hybrid cloud models together

In a move to tackle a persistent cloud computing challenge, Cast Iron Systems just rolled out a new platform that aims to help companies large and small securely integrate public clouds, private clouds and on-premise applications.

Dubbed OmniConnect, the cloud integration solution offers a single platform rather than multiple products or on-premise tools to accomplish cloud integrations.

Five pillars undergird OmniConnect: complete integrations, a complete cloud experience, reusability of connectivity and processes, and portable, embeddable, and brandable environments, and centralized cloud management.

"Cloud application use is exploding, but just because you like Salesforce.com doesn't mean you are going to throw out SAP, Oracle or other applications you have on-premise. It's a hybrid world where companies have a combination of cloud and on-premise locations," says Chandar Pattabhiram, vice president of Channel and Product Marketing for Cast Iron Systems. "You don't maximize the value of your cloud applications unless you get all the data into it – so you need integration."

Complete integrations

Integration can get complex in a hurry with a growing number of applications in the enterprise, such as Salesforce, Google Apps, WebEx and ADP. Companies could take a do-it-yourself approach but it won't scale over time. Companies could also use an on-demand vendor for cloud-to-cloud scenarios, or hire an on-premise integration firm. Cast Iron Systems, though, is pushing OmniConnect as a better solution.

"Fifty-six percent of CIOs in a Gartner survey said they are transitioning away from the cloud because too many choices make it too difficult," Pattabhiram says. "Our new platform is meant to solve this problem by bridging the on-premise and cloud worlds. We offer complete integrations that include data migration, process integration, and UI mashup capabilities."

Fifty-six percent of CIOs in a Gartner survey said they are transitioning away from the cloud because too many choices make it too difficult.



OmniConnect, for example, lets SaaS applications access, cleanse, and synchronize data stored in legacy systems in real-time and completes processes such as quote-to-order, purchase-to-pay, and order-to-cash without leaving the Cast Iron OmniConnect environment. The platform can also mash up the data from disparate sources and display them in a single view without taking the data out of one application and putting it into another.

Users can configure their integration processes in the cloud, run them in a multi-tenant cloud-based environment, and monitor all integrations from a single cloud-based console. And the Cast Iron Secure Connector aims to overcome data security issues by offering a secure channel that exchanges encrypted or firewalled data between enterprise applications and Cast Iron’s multi-tenant cloud service.

Reusability, portability and management

C
ast Iron also announced a new Connector Development Kit that works to streamline building connections to new applications and data sources. The kit allows IT gurus to re-use connectivity created in OmniConnect to snap in connections to public clouds, private clouds, and on-premise applications. OmniConnect also offers reusable templates of the most common processes.

Portability is another feature that Cast Iron is boasting about. The software lets users make integrations or the entire OmniConnect portable into any public cloud, private cloud or on-premise data center environment. Infrastructure providers can also embed and brand the platform as their own integration-as-a-service offering. ADP, Dell and Cisco are already reselling the service.

There is significant value in having one platform rather than multiple solutions to bridge private cloud, public cloud and on-premise applications.



Finally, a cloud-based management console makes it possible for users to monitor multiple integrations across customer deployments in a single location. Management APIs are available for IT and SaaS providers to view the monitoring data within their private or public clouds. Cast Iron also announced support for Amazon Web Services customers through integration-as-a-service.

"Security and integration are the two biggest concerns cited in Gartner's study," says Pattabhiram. "That's why you see mega-brands partnering with us. They want to have an enterprise grade solution to help their customers adopt their cloud applications. There is significant value in having one platform rather than multiple solutions to bridge private cloud, public cloud and on-premise applications."
BriefingsDirect contributor Jennifer LeClaire provided editorial assistance and research on this post. She can be reached at http://www.linkedin.com/in/jleclaire and http://www.jenniferleclaire.com.
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