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September 22, 2010


Integration and Collaboration in the Cloud

By Larry Walsh

Some theorists say that the future of all IT lies in the cloud. If you accept that premise, then the logical conclusion is that it’s pointless to invest any further in on-premises IT. IT skeptic and provocateur Nicholas G. Carr sees cloud computing as a stage on the way to computing resources becoming a commodity like electricity.

But for now at least, we have to deal with the present. Sure, cloud computing is catching on for applications, computing platforms, infrastructure, storage and disaster recovery – that’s practically all of IT. Still, there’s not exactly a letup in on-premises IT investment, especially as many IT functions are taken over by easy-to-use appliances.

Increasingly, cloud computing is not an either-or proposition. A far more common-sense approach to enterprise cloud computing is a hybrid strategy. It’s in this context that the Cloudcast, “Going Above and Beyond, Integration and Collaboration in the Cloud,” contains particularly valuable information.

Some points:

Among companies that are using cloud computing in some way, Gartner, Inc. has found that integration is an obstacle that is actually driving customers away from the cloud.

Seeing the need to tie together on-premises and cloud-based applications, Cast Iron Systems has developed rapid integration templates to link in real time such common applications as on-premises SAP and in the cloud. And you can share integration templates with other companies that have similar needs.

Remember EDI and value-added networks? Both were cloud before there was cloud. Hubspan’s Margaret Dawson explains how Hubspan’s Webspan technology can improve on EDI and VANs. It’s about time.

Webspan enables integration in weeks rather than months thanks to the use of standard protocols and formats and repeatable processes. And they’ve created cloud-based business communities for such industries as healthcare and aerospace. Barnes and Noble is using Webspan to deliver better service to its corporate accounts by tying purchase orders to inventory to prevent unfilled orders. What’s more, Webspan is encrypted and interoperates with EDI.

The Webcast took place Sept. 21, but you can access it at any time by clicking on it in the right hand column of StanOnIBM. Cloudcast guests are: Mac Devine,  distinguished engineer and CTO for cloud partnerships at IBM, Sinom Peel, senior vice-president of strategy and marketing at Cast Iron Systems, an IBM company, Margaret Dawson, vice-president of product management at Hubspan, an IBM partner and Nathan Cowan, general manager of global sales at Hubspan.

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