Sunday, July 29, 2007

Did someone say integration?

Has it really been 8 weeks since my very first "blog"....? I thought I was going to blog more once I’d started but things have been so busy here at OpenSpan (for the good) that I just haven't had a lot of time. Enough of the excuses, I’m back.

I try to read everything that’s being written (sensibly or not) in my field around integration, SOA, Services, Mash-ups, “rip and replace”, Composites and all that. Integration is a subject that’s been around since the birth of computing and will be around when the sun heats up too much for us to care (integration will then be of the inter-planetary or inter-galactic nature).

I read a lot over at ITbusiness edge which I think does a phenomenal job of finding, referencing and commenting on “everything” integration. I think its worth a visit to their site at Click on the “new articles” under “integrating the enterprise”. Loraine Lawson writes some excellent “Cliff Note” summaries and blogs to create debates and discussions around the hottest topics. Her experience at seeing the wood through the trees allows us to get some real serious discussion going around some really important topics.
I recently read an interesting reference from Loraine ( referring to an article from Gregor Hohpe who’s a Software Architect over at Google. Gregor wrote about a recent experience at a “Mash-up camp in Silicon Valley” which linked me to his real site at

Gregor, like me has obviously been around this space for a very long time and I hope soon to try and connect with him. He faces all of the realities of integration and is not lost in all the buzz-word hype that many get lost in. In fact Gregor seems to have a “science” around this problem (patterns). I like what I’m reading so far so I’ll dig deeper and follow him for sure.

Mash-ups (whatever we call them) have one common problem.. They rarely actually replace an application, especially in the enterprise. Unless the new UI replaces all the functionality of the original application (unlikely) it still needs to be supported or even running in case the business needs to do something the new mash-up doesn’t do. As we know, replacing enterprise applications (used by a user) is one of the hardest challenges IT has to face. More on that in another blog!

Lastly, for today, and as you all know, we at OpenSpan do things very differently (even though sometimes it appears we are all the same). The robust technology we’ve built that allows us to insert ourselves into running applications for real-time integration is having a real impact at some very large enterprise customers. However, the great news is that it also applies just as easily to small and medium size businesses, whom often get left behind when it comes to integrating applications (cost). I’m starting to like the term “Agile Integration” as it applies to every size enterprise and will post more on why I think the alternative big “fat” (too long) integration projects fail.