A major selling point for Platform as a Service (PaaS) and cloud computing is faster integration development, which translates into quick time to market. But this selling point is also a potential drawback, if development teams overlook good planning in their rush to deploy cloud applications, according to one early adopter.
"Sound software development processes still apply. [Cloud] is a not a euphemism for hacking,'' said Pradip Sitaram, CIO, Enterprise Community Partners LLC, a firm that matches development capital with affordable housing projects. Sitaram and his team are in the midst of a two-year system rebuild that uses Boomi cloud-based data integration software to hook up legacy PeopleSoft applications with cloud-based SalesForce.com applications.
As part of the Boomi implementation, Sitaram's team is wrapping business rules as software services. Because the Boomi PaaS tooling is online and immediately available, the development team can begin work very quickly. Under Sitaram's direction, however, the Enterprise team made sure to take time upfront to set-up the best design methods.
"Requirements and testing should not be compromised," said Sitaram, who spoke on cloud computing experiences at Gartner's Application Architecture, Development & Integration (AADI) Summit 2011 in Las Vegas, Nev. "The temptation to go in and start building means you have to make sure the team takes the time to go in and plan."
''Integration is the result of good architecture – it's not the other way around,'' he said.
Cloud computing is an important part of IT strategy at Enterprise, serving as a stepping stone to recasting of legacy systems. "The future for us is the cloud," said Sitaram.
While the cloud computing space brings new prospects, it also brings new challenges, he added.
"When you are integrating endpoints that are outside your immediate control, they bring their own set of challenges. Computing on a distributed level, too, brings in a whole new set of challenges," Sitaram said.
Gartner Analyst Massimo Pezzini described implementations like Enterprise's as ''Integration Platform as a Service'" or "iPaaS." "It is a set of development and runtime tools that you use for integrating data, application services and processes. Typically it provides some governance capability. Typically it uses a pay per view model," he told Gartner AADI attendees. Among drivers of the iPaaS is a drive to keep initial costs low, he said.