August 23, 2017

Microservices based on containers are fundamentally changing the way IT organizations approach both application integration and application programming interface (API) management. At the Dell EMC World 2017 conference this week, Dell Boomi announced it is partnering with sister company Pivotal to make it possible to deliver instances of Dell Boomi containers that can be deployed on a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environment based on the open-source code developed by the Cloud Foundry Foundation.

Dell Boomi CTO Michael Morton says when Dell Boomi developed its cloud integration service, it also developed its own container technology. Now the company is making those containers available for IT organizations to use in their local data centers. As the default option, Dell Boomi will provide customers with the container it developed. But, on request, Dell Boomi will make its integration software available as a Docker image that can be deployed anywhere, says Morton.

As microservices become more prevalent, he notes, managing APIs at that level of scale will be a major challenge for IT organizations. In fact, the number of APIs IT organizations will have to manage internally will soon dwarf the number of external-facing APIs that organizations surface. To make it easier to integrate applications using those APIs, Dell Boomi is making it possible to employ containers on-premises, in a public cloud or in a third-party data centers. The alliance with Pivotal provides Dell Boomi with access to a PaaS hat can be deployed in any one of those environments.

What distinguishes Dell Boomi, says Morton, is that that in addition to the core integration engine, it provides access to API management, master data management and, following the recent acquisition of ManyWho, workflow applications. In contrast, rival platforms either only address one aspect of integration or require IT organizations to leverage an external cloud service, he says.

As microservices continue to evolve, it is probable most of them will include containers that provide access to a lightweight integration engine. Over time, Dell Boomi expects those integration engines to be federated across public and private cloud computing environments, Morton says. At the same time, the rise of internet of things (IoT) applications is also likely to push the need for that lightweight integration all the way out to the edge. In fact, Dell Boomi is looking forward to working on a new IoT gateway standard that Dell is leading via a project launched by the Linux Foundation.

In general, Morton notes IT environments will consist of applications based on legacy architectures and more modern microservices for years to come. In that context, IT organizations will need access to a flexible integration engine that can be employed across multiple types of application architectures.

Morton says most IT organizations are only just now starting to think through how microservices will transform integration and vice versa. Most of the adoption of microservices is being driven by developers. IT operations teams, in contrast, don’t have enough visibility into the impact microservices are about to have. In the meantime, Morton says Dell Boomi is looking forward to working through all the potential use cases for making integration engines available as a container.

Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist with over 25 years of experience. He also contributed to IT Business Edge, Channel Insider, Baseline and a variety of other IT titles. Previously, Vizard was the editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise as well as Editor-in-Chief for CRN and InfoWorld.