Quickstart Guide to Cloud-Based System Integration

Businesses increasingly migrate their infrastructure to the public cloud environment – moving there with their servers, mass storage, CRM systems and business processes. IT system integration in the cloud may be another step in this journey. This is a very interesting option for companies that plan or have started to use cloud services. In this piece, we will use the example of AWS services to tell you about cloud-based system integration and show you the related benefits even if you don’t use cloud services yet. If you plan a systems’ integration project and consider different integration scenarios, continue reading!

Companies Are Stepping up Their Spending on Cloud Platforms

According to research conducted by Gartner, by 2026 public cloud computing spending will exceed 45% of all enterprise IT spending – compared to less than 17% in 2021. At Unity Group, we also see a clear growth in companies’ demand for cloud services. In most of our projects cloud solutions are used in conjunction with e-commerce platforms, IT system integrations (including enterprise service bus), data science and other software solutions. It’s almost like nobody wants to invest in bulky, limited servers when a cheaper, better option is readily available. Strange! At this stage, it’s hard to imagine software development without cloud-based systems. Especially, when all leading cloud service providers – AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud – offer firms simple access to servers, mass storage, databases, and a whole spectrum of components suited for various tasks, including cloud-based systems’ integration.

Not everything can be moved to the cloud

What Is It System Integration in the Cloud?

Cloud-based system integration means combining different systems in the cloud using the most suitable components provided by the cloud provider – AWS in our case.  We should remember that AWS is not a monolith, but a collection of over 300 services that a company can freely and flexibly use when building its IT environment. As you will see in a while, this system integration approach makes it easier to introduce changes and minimize costs associated with the administration and maintenance of the IT infrastructure. For example:

  • If you need message queuing in a system integration solution, you can use the cloud-based message queue and go for the one that is the easiest to maintain and manage, e.g. AWS SQS.
  • For the database, you can choose DynamoDB or AWS Aurora
  • In a typical case where API is prepared based on data in a different format, you may consider such solutions as AWS AppSync or AWS Lambda. AppSync will make it much easier for you to prepare the GraphQL API, as this is its key job by design.

How to Integrate Multiple Systems Quickly Using Cloud Solutions

If your company uses cloud services, the system integration process won’t take long. Not using the cloud yet? No worries – with AWS, you can easily access the services you need without having to buy additional licenses. And what’s more, you’ll only pay for what you use. Just set up an account, and you’re ready to go. However, you’ll be well advised to use the support of a partner who has experience in cloud projects and employs specialists certified by AWS. We may have a predilection here, but we know from experience that this approach is more effective 😊. Even if the current organization’s existing systems are installed on-premise, i.e., directly on a local server, it is still worth considering cloud-based system integration solutions. They will allow you to quickly launch a system integration project and relieve you of the need to estimate and purchase resources (servers or virtual machines) at the start of the project.  And this is just the top of the list of the cloud-based system integration benefits.

How Your Company Will Benefit From System Integration With AWS

1.    Shorter time-to-market 

If you care about the ability to make quick changes in your IT infrastructure, a cloud solution combined with agile project management (Agile methodology) will work best for you.  In simple terms, the system integration process is as follows: an experienced team defines detailed functional requirements (i.e., functions to be performed by the system) and non-functional requirements (i.e., related to limitations of system services and functions). At the same time, as the AWS cloud ensures easy access to all tools, the team can also immediately perform the first identified development tasks. For example, they can work on arranging communication between different systems in-scope (network configuration, e.g. firewalls, VPN, login data), provide the first APIs for other systems to connect to, or simply implement the Proof of Concept (PoC) project – a pilot version of the target set-up.

2.      Agility and flexibility

Easy access to AWS services is a great advantage of using cloud services when integrating multiple systems. You don’t need to invest in long-term and expensive licenses. Just add your credit card and pay only for the resources you use. This flexibility is extremely useful during the project, when new requirements may arise, leading to a need to modify the existing solutions. Cloud services will allow you to quickly add additional elements, such as databases, message queues, storage, and others.   

3.     Security, stability, and reliability

The study shows, that in 93 percent of cases, an external attacker can breach a company’s network perimeter and access local network resources. Today, the role of secure organization’s internal systems is more important than ever. Especially in industries working in the FISMA standard and companies looking to get an ISAE 3402 certification. Fortunately, the AWS cloud is encrypted by default, and has anomaly detection systems, firewalls, and mechanisms to prevent DDoS attacks. The integration of IT systems using cloud services also makes it relatively easy to ensure stability at a very high level. By default, most components provide reliability at the level of one geographic location – a city. It’s worth remembering, though, that this usually means 2–3 server rooms located in a given city, which ensures high resistance to various incidents. And if this level of reliability is not enough for you, you can consider a solution based in several such locations.

Cloud-Based Systems’ Integration – Examples

Let’s look at some business cases to help you better understand the benefits of cloud-based IT system integration.

IT system integration in the transport industry

Imagine a transport company that needs to collect telematics data from vehicles traveling all over Europe. It’s crucial to develop a complete system integration that will work even in the event of serious infrastructure problems in one country. Another challenge is to ensure that the integrated systems remains stable as the company grows and its fleet increases.

In this case, the best option is to use cloud services to implement a system integration solution. Why is that so? As I mentioned earlier, cloud providers have their services located in many places, which guarantees the stability and security of data exchange between integrated systems. In turn, the increasing data transfer associated with the growing fleet will be easily handled by automatically increasing cloud resources. Predictable cost scaling is a huge advantage for any business. At the stage of implementing the system integration solution, the cost is negligible and only increase along with the increase in the number of vehicles in the fleet and thus the amount of telematics data. So, the company pays only for the amount of data it needs to be handled.

Cloud-based system integration in retail/ wholesale

If you sell in retail or wholesale model, both in-store and online, synchronizing prices and product stock might be a challenge. If you need to update prices and stock levels for all products – and their number runs in hundreds of thousands or millions – the process will be much more time-consuming than a typical update of sales-related information. In the case of system integration based on a cloud solution, you can configure resources so that they are available only when needed. Moreover, you can automatically detect the launch of the process of transferring all information. This system integration method will not only reduce the cost of using cloud services, but will also shorten the waiting time for the store to synchronize prices and product stock.

Summary

System integration in the cloud can be a great option if you’re planning or have already started digital transformation of your business. When considering different types of system integration, remember about cloud-based solutions – they are reliable, secure, and flexible. What’s more, you don’t have to do everything at once. You can start with the most important existing systems and add more elements as you go. If you’re wondering how IT system integration using AWS services could work at your firm, contact us, and we will find an answer together.   

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