Cloud offerings from SAP covered at least 33% of Saphhire 2012, 66% being mobile and HANA and 1% for rest of the SAP offerings. There is a good news and a bad news. The good news is that SAP talked about a lot of cloud based integration solutions. And so is the bad news. Several cloud based integration solutions have surfaced a lot of confusions among the customers who wonders if it is the correct time to go for SAP's cloud based integration solutions or not. There are
some who will rely on SAP with the current offerings, some who will wait for much more comprehensive solution and some who will move away to other vendors.
Let's talk a bit about the list of cloud based integration solutions currently promoted by SAP:
- Crossgate SII - I wrote something about it here.
- Mulesoft - Mulesoft provides support for many widely used SaaS applications and therefore attractive cloud integration. It already has connectors to connect to SAP back-end over Idocs and RFC. What I don't like was the statement "These solutions natively integrate with SAP without any requirement for additional middleware such as SAP Netweaver PI or complex and expensive SOA stacks." - That's just because I am originally a PI consultant.
- Dell's Boomi and IBM's Cast Iron - Boomi "AtomSphere" and WebSphere Cast Iron provides a similar cloud based integration solution and its edge over Mulesoft isn't very clear apart from the fact that they have more established market. Mulesoft says "While SaaS integration solutions like Cast Iron and Boomi are capable of addressing tactical point-to-point (or even point-to-multipoint) integration scenarios, they lack full iPaaS capabilities, such as service orchestration, real-time event-driven integration, and robust exception strategies."
- Informatica cloud - Although Informatica has a stronger cloud presence as compared to rest of the vendors, its name wasn't much heard during the Sapphire. - May be I just missed it
- SAP's own cloud based integration solution. In one of the sessions at Sapphire, SAP demonstrated their interest towards the common Integration platform. It was clearly mentioned that "SAP is investing in its own cloud-based integration solution". This cloud-based service which should more appropriately be called as "Integration as a Service" will be combination of "Process Integration on-demand and data service on-demand". The important point to note here is there is no current SAP solution available which represents "Process Integration on-demand". The SAP PI architecture was built for on-premise solution and therefore it doesn't sound very convincing to use the same architecture and host it on cloud. If by "Process Integration on-demand" SAP doesn't mean "SAP PI on-demand", then in my opinion a better and less confusing naming should be used. The following points presented about the upcoming solution make it much similar to existing SAP PI:
- Mappings will be portable from existing SAP PI to this new solution.
- Extensible adapter SDK. Adapters again?
- Pre-packaged integration content which I believe will be reused from existing SAP PI.
- Eclipse based tooling as we have with the new Process Orchestration suite.
A very straightforward question in a customer's perspective would be - "Which of these should I invest in for my organization as a long term Integration as a Service offering from SAP?" SAP's answer as usual would be "depends". However, I think this is the point where SAP should provide some clear written directions to the audience about their strategy moving forward and the recommendation and guidelines for its trusted and ever increasing customer base.