Integration Technologies: ESB versus iPaaS
“Gartner predicts the worldwide cloud service market will grow to $331.2B in 2022” (According to Forbes). This increased demand convinces organizations to re-think their legacy models with regards to integration using ESB (Enterprise Service Bus). In addition, the global iPaaS (integration platform as a service) market is estimated to be growing at a CAGR of 40,4% during the forecast period of 2020-2025 (According to GlobeNewswire). But what is the difference between both technologies?
Digital Market Trends
Organizations seem to be moving away from traditional ESB into iPaaS technology. In search of a more scalable and lightweight platform capable of matching the characteristics of the new wave of Cloud solutions. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) have radically simplified the deployment of business applications. Organizations are embracing these new apps with open arms.
This digital trend of introducing a variety of new apps has set in motion the following:
Setting off an exponential growing amount of technology requirements and integrations. Something IT have had troubles keeping up with and the ESB ultimately became a bottleneck for nearly every project. Catapulting the popularity of the Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS), as being more agile and adaptable for cloud integration.
What is an ESB?
An Enterprise Service Bus is an architectural pattern that allows multiple applications to communicate with each other and to transfer data to one another. An ESB is like a switchboard that facilitates the routing of data and messages between various applications and software.
ESBs have a complex architecture that is vertically scalable and are ideal for on-premises legacy integrations. Essentially ESBs are not designed to work with cloud integration and iPaaS works to fill in the gaps where the ESB system lacks. Although some ESBs are now capable of managing cloud-based data and applications.
What is iPaaS?
An Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) uses a lightweight, multi-tenant, and horizontally scalable architecture that is ideal for cloud integrations. iPaaS is ideal for companies and organizations relying on or considering cloud integration.
This is because an iPaaS is more agile and adaptable than an ESB, which makes it easier to integrate new applications in an existing framework. An iPaaS might be a good tool for companies who need to perform real-time analytics or consolidate data from a variety of applications or devices into a single, unified view.
For many years enterprises have been operating as an Integration Factory, instead of an Integration Enabler. With IT being responsible for developing and maintaining all integrations using ESB technology. The ESB was originally conceived in order to integrate various on-premise applications before the cloud applications emerged.
In today’s world of generalization and replaceability, with so many more channels and endpoints, this scenario is simply not maintainable. To support the flexibility needed by an enterprise to stay relevant, traditional IT must transform from an Integration Factory, building each abstraction and connection, to Integration Enabler.
Comparing ESB and iPaaS
iPaaS and ESB serve the same main purpose: the integration of enterprise systems and applications. The main difference between iPaaS and ESB lies in the kind of systems they integrate best, the level of complexity of their integrations, and their scalability. ESB is designed to integrate complex IT systems and architecture. It holds together an enterprise’s on-premises and legacy systems. iPaaS, on the other hand, offers a more lightweight integration solution better suited for flexible and real-time applications, which are critical requirements of cloud-based services.
Though enterprises often use ESB to hold their internal architecture and legacy together, with advancing iPaaS, they are also moving to accommodate SaaS endpoints and IoT devices.
|Design||Lightweight messaging, Flexible and real-time services||Complex Systems and Solutions|
|Scalability||Horizontally Scalable with third party and partners systems; Adhoc integrations are easier||Vertically scalable for complex internal systems; Adhoc integrations are difficult|
|Hosting||Remote Hosting||Locally under the firewall|
*These integration models have been converging lately, almost all iPaaS solutions have evolved to support on-premises systems, while some ESB vendors have introduced features to more elegantly support the integration of cloud services. Though, iPaaS still has its limitations and the space is still gaining maturity.
Currently we are in a digital transformation moving from on-premise legacy systems to cloud applications. This means that the iPaaS will become the increasingly dominant choice for organizations. But that does not have to mean the immediate demise of the ESB.
Important is to have a vision on integration and build an organization agile enough to remain relevant to the market and your users. This can be accomplished by:
With so many ways to connect so many new components, self-enablement of your business analysts, developers, and third-party users is a must. iPaas is central to this strategy, working in conjunction with ESBs to provide the full functionality needed by your enterprise to thrive and deliver the best customer experiences. Providing a robust solution for real-time analytics, streaming data, enabling AI capabilities, integrating IoT and allowing departments using separate apps to seamlessly work together.