Software AG has acquired Built.io as part of an effort to provide a multitier approach to application integration designed for different classes of developers.
Subhash Ramachadran, senior vice president for product management at Software AG, said Built.io adds a low-code approach to integration in the form of a platform-as-a-service (iPaaS) environment developed using Node.js to a portfolio of technologies that include the webMethods platform.
Ramachadran said the low-code approach will appeal more to so-called citizen integrators who are trying to integrate business processes with minimal intervention on the part of an IT team. Many of those capabilities are now expected to be delivered in a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model that citizen developers can invoke on demand. Built.io, for example, already provides built-in support for more than 300 applications and services. Those tools, however, don’t replace the need for a set of integration frameworks aimed at more complex tasks that require professional developers, Ramachadran said.
Increasingly, there are large numbers of use cases for integration that simply don’t require a professional developer to accomplish, he noted. In fact, the number of use cases that can be addressed by tools such as Built.io might be substantially larger than the use cases requiring a platform the size and scale of webMethods.
Software AG’s goal is to create a single platform to provide organizations with multiple classes of integration frameworks that can be applied to different personas within an organization, Ramachadran said. A common platform eventually would make it possible for integrations of varying skill levels to collaborate more easily.
Those frameworks could then be plugged into any continuous integration/continuous development (CI/CD) platform to enable various Software AG integration platforms to be natural extensions of a DevOps environment, he added. The webMethods integration platform already supports Kubernetes clusters and Docker containers as a runtime environment.
As DevOps processes continue to evolve, Ramachadran said Software AG is betting that organizations will want to make it easier for different classes of developers working with multiple types of tools to collaborate.
To facilitate that transition, Software AG now enables everything from sharing code via GitHub to deploying micro gateways for managing application programming interfaces (APIs) within the context of a set of microservices, he noted, adding those capabilities will only become more important as organizations begin to build highly distributed internet of things (IoT) applications running on a wide variety of platforms.
Microservices, however, create something of a paradox when it comes to integration. On the one hand, frameworks such as Built.io will make it simpler for more organizations to integrate multiple microservices and legacy monolithic applications. On the other hand, microservices are making integration more challenging for many professional developers as they continue to expand across the enterprise.
The challenge facing most organizations will be striking the right balance between microservices and existing monolithic applications, many of which don’t naturally lend themselves to being re-engineered into a series of microservices. In fact, in many cases it may be difficult to distinguish from an integration standpoint what constitutes a microservice versus a monolithic application, so long as both can be invoked using a simple API.