A mass migration to cloud has been triggered because of rising awareness about the best practices for enterprise application development. Gartner predicts that 50% of businesses will be leveraging cloud computing in one form or the other by the end of 2017.
This marks the beginning of a new era in hybrid ERP where enterprise applications are hosted over cloud or on-premises, according to their features and security requirements. Although hybrid ERPs have existed since the last decade, the infrastructure has been scattered at best with applications being hosted on private servers, shared servers, shared clouds, private clouds or on premises.
The unorganized nature of such enterprise applications makes it difficult to push add-ons to the enterprise applications as they may be hosted on a different cloud or written in a different language.
Multicloud Application integration is the need of the hour, as enterprises struggle to achieve seamless communication amongst their applications and the cloud-hosted data.
Key elements of a multicloud integration strategy
In an enterprise setting, it is impossible to track applications across departments. It is absolutely necessary to automate data flow while considering multicloud integration. This can be achieved by ‘departmental cloud’ implementation where each department uses the best suitable cloud environment and provides web services in case other applications want to access their data. This is albeit done after verifying credentials of the permission seeker.
- Transaction logging
All incoming and outgoing data modifications need to be logged as-is to get a real-time overview of the system. The archived versions of this data can be analyzed through big data scenarios to keep a check on the smooth running of the enterprise applications.
Enterprise applications in an integrated setting should be flexible enough to allow add-ons to be added on top of the original code regardless of being hosted on the cloud or on-premises. These add-ons should in turn be ‘upgrade-proof’, such that they should not disrupt the functionality of the existing apps.
All the enterprise applications in an integrated environment should stay on top of the latest software and device trends. Enabling the apps to be compatible with the newest versions should be easy with cloud hosting.
With a multicloud integration solution, all enterprise applications should be able to be managed through a single window console. This ensures uniformity of control procedures throughout the applications.
Implementing multi-cloud integration
Point-to-point communication has been rendered obsolete. This was possible when applications communicating with each other would have similar file formats and data structures. With an average enterprise having more than 200 applications, it is imperative that the storage will differ, as will the development platforms.
This necessitates a project management portal that will:
1. Provide integrated flow where the required data is provided irrespective of the deployment location or file format required.
2. Apply business rules through data flow monitoring, when a data request is received.
3. Manage authentication and role-based permissions for all applications across the enterprise, instead of each application having to include the access and role management code.
Security and Data Governance in an integrated setting
Till date, enterprises have been wary of moving to the cloud fearing security breaches in a multi-tenant environment. They have relied more on private hosting or on-premises hosting. While the apprehensions are not irrational, clouds are also not as insecure as they have been made out to be. Even on a shared cloud, if access and role-management are applied properly, no other applications from the same enterprise or other enterprises can access the confidential data.
To cater to the security needs of enterprises and to assure them of complete privacy, virtual development environments can be set up. This leads to faster application development as they build the applications within their own premises using their network security and data centers.
As anticipated, a multicloud application integration solution will be handling huge amounts of data that can only be handled by big data analytical tools. Necessary steps should therefore taken that the appropriate data governance measures are in place when implementing such a system.