SDN Journal Authors: Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, TJ Randall

Blog Feed Post

SnapLogic: Because Bulldozers and Buses Don’t Fly

Have you ever wished that enterprise integration were as simple as snapping together LEGO Blocks? That’s the vision of San Mateo, California-based SnapLogic. The brainchild of Informatica co-founder Guarav Dhillon, SnapLogic offers a novel take on Integration-as-a-Service that is both Cloud-friendly as well as user-friendly. SnapLogic works both on-premise and in the Cloud – but don’t let the on-premise option fool you. This is no traditional integration product warmed over for the Cloud. Instead, SnapLogic is architected first and foremost for the Cloud while supporting hybrid as well as behind-the-firewall integration scenarios, making it a modern, enterprise-ready integration solution.

snaplogicWhile Dhillon cut his teeth on Extract-Transform-Load (ETL) approaches to integration at Informatica, SnapLogic moves past both this “bulldozer” approach to integration as well as the centralized, stateful “bus” approach that Enterprise Service Buses represent. Instead, the Cloud requires elasticity, stateless processing, and in Big Data situations, moving the logic to the data (what the industry has taken to calling the Data Gravity problem) – all requirements that SnapLogic addresses. However, while the enterprise-class integration technology under the covers is central to supporting customers’ business agility requirements, it’s the SnapLogic Designer tool that is downright sexy. Even so, this slick, streamlined interface is more than eye-candy, as it opens up previously complex integration tasks to a wider range of users, both simplifying and extending the power of the platform.

Snaplex: At the Heart of Cloud-Centric Architecture

SnapLogic architected its “Integration Cloud” following the model of Software-Defined Networking, which separates message interactions into a control plane and a data plane. SnapLogic hosts its control plane in the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud. This component consists of the Designer, Manager, and Dashboard subcomponents, which manage the data plane. The control plane handles load balancing, security, task scheduling, and metadata management for the Integration Cloud.

At the core of the data plane is the Snaplex (or in reality, multiple Snaplexes). Snaplex is the data processing component of the Integration Cloud, and it comes in two flavors: the on-premise Groundplex and the in-Cloud Cloudplex. The Groundplex provides on-premise connectivity behind the corporate firewall, while SnapLogic preconfigures the Cloudplexes in the Integration Cloud.

Each Snaplex is inherently elastic, and the control plane can automatically scale the Snaplexes out or in as needed. As each Snaplex is a stateless processor, such scaling takes advantage of the partition tolerant nature of Cloud environments. This architectural choice on the part of SnapLogic is central to their product differentiation, as traditional middleware products do not cleanly separate the control and data planes, and thus have no way to perform elastic, stateless processing in the Cloud. You can’t simply take a traditional integration tool, stick it in the Cloud, and expect it to take advantage of the unique benefits that the Cloud provides. Instead, Integration-as-a-Service capabilities require a ground-up rethink of integration. SnapLogic has been down this road, and as a result, their product offers this advanced set of capabilities.

SnapLogic Designer: Integration as Simple as LEGO Blocks

Many of today’s integration tools have slick user interfaces, but SnapLogic took extra care to make theirs user-friendly for both deeply technical and casually technical audiences alike. Each element is a Snap, and the Snaps snap together with a pleasant click sound. The connector symbols on the end of each Snap refer to other Snaps it can connect to (document or binary). Configuring each Snap is a simple matter of clicking on it and entering basic configuration information. SnapLogic Designer appears in the figure below.

SnapLogic Screenshot

SnapLogic Designer (Source: SnapLogic)

SnapLogic ships with over 160 pre-built Snaps (and an SDK to build new ones), making integration a snap (pun intended).

The Intellyx Take

SnapLogic Designer doesn’t simply present a seamless user interface; it offers a powerful abstraction. Abstractions are intentional simplifications that hide underlying capabilities, and in the case of SnapLogic, the capabilities under the covers are where the real power lies. Remember, SnapLogic integrates on-premise and Cloud-based resources while supporting the full elasticity of the Cloud environment – a complicated challenge for any application. Don’t let the simplicity and friendliness of the user interface fool you. This is a powerful, enterprise-class tool.

Abstractions are also at the core of the Bloomberg Agile Architecture™ (BAA) Technique, which recommends that application creators (and integrators) work at the abstract model level. The role of the abstract model in the BAA Technique is both to present a simplified modeling capability to users while abstracting real-time resolution of API contracts and data formats. For tools that are able to implement this capability, the result is inherently flexible integration that responds to changes in APIs dynamically in real time.

SnapLogic clearly has the simplified modeling capability that facilitates the BAA Technique. Furthermore, SnapLogic does not require a fixed schema for an API interaction (except where the API requires it to be fixed), and SnapLogic allows the schema to be flexible so that integrations don’t break when any changes in the API requests and responses take place. When critical changes occur, SnapLogic handles them as a graceful degradation. If any references are made to schema fields which may no longer exist in the data flow, SnapLogic ensures that failures don’t cause unforeseen errors.

In most circumstances, SnapLogic’s approach to API change won’t present much of a limitation, as the platform separates the design time aspects of creating and configuring integrations in the Designer from the run time aspects that the Snaplexes handle. Far more important is SnapLogic’s ability to elastically scale out and in, thus supporting changing capacity requirements – an essential enabler of business agility for any enterprise moving to the Cloud.

Intellyx has no business relationship with SnapLogic at the time of writing.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Jason Bloomberg

Jason Bloomberg is a leading IT industry analyst, Forbes contributor, keynote speaker, and globally recognized expert on multiple disruptive trends in enterprise technology and digital transformation. He is ranked #5 on Onalytica’s list of top Digital Transformation influencers for 2018 and #15 on Jax’s list of top DevOps influencers for 2017, the only person to appear on both lists.

As founder and president of Agile Digital Transformation analyst firm Intellyx, he advises, writes, and speaks on a diverse set of topics, including digital transformation, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, devops, big data/analytics, cybersecurity, blockchain/bitcoin/cryptocurrency, no-code/low-code platforms and tools, organizational transformation, internet of things, enterprise architecture, SD-WAN/SDX, mainframes, hybrid IT, and legacy transformation, among other topics.

Mr. Bloomberg’s articles in Forbes are often viewed by more than 100,000 readers. During his career, he has published over 1,200 articles (over 200 for Forbes alone), spoken at over 400 conferences and webinars, and he has been quoted in the press and blogosphere over 2,000 times.

Mr. Bloomberg is the author or coauthor of four books: The Agile Architecture Revolution (Wiley, 2013), Service Orient or Be Doomed! How Service Orientation Will Change Your Business (Wiley, 2006), XML and Web Services Unleashed (SAMS Publishing, 2002), and Web Page Scripting Techniques (Hayden Books, 1996). His next book, Agile Digital Transformation, is due within the next year.

At SOA-focused industry analyst firm ZapThink from 2001 to 2013, Mr. Bloomberg created and delivered the Licensed ZapThink Architect (LZA) Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) course and associated credential, certifying over 1,700 professionals worldwide. He is one of the original Managing Partners of ZapThink LLC, which was acquired by Dovel Technologies in 2011.

Prior to ZapThink, Mr. Bloomberg built a diverse background in eBusiness technology management and industry analysis, including serving as a senior analyst in IDC’s eBusiness Advisory group, as well as holding eBusiness management positions at USWeb/CKS (later marchFIRST) and WaveBend Solutions (now Hitachi Consulting), and several software and web development positions.

CloudEXPO Stories
Sanjeev Sharma Joins November 11-13, 2018 @DevOpsSummit at @CloudEXPO New York Faculty. Sanjeev Sharma is an internationally known DevOps and Cloud Transformation thought leader, technology executive, and author. Sanjeev's industry experience includes tenures as CTO, Technical Sales leader, and Cloud Architect leader. As an IBM Distinguished Engineer, Sanjeev is recognized at the highest levels of IBM's core of technical leaders.
René Bostic is the Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America. Enjoying her career with IBM during the modern millennial technological era, she is an expert in cloud computing, DevOps and emerging cloud technologies such as Blockchain. Her strengths and core competencies include a proven record of accomplishments in consensus building at all levels to assess, plan, and implement enterprise and cloud computing solutions. René is a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and a member of the Society of Information Management (SIM) Atlanta Chapter. She received a Business and Economics degree with a minor in Computer Science from St. Andrews Presbyterian University (Laurinburg, North Carolina). She resides in metro-Atlanta (Georgia).
We are in a digital age however when one looks for their dream home, the mortgage process can take as long as 60 days to complete. Not what we expect in a time where processes are known to take place swiftly and seamlessly. Mortgages businesses are facing the heat and are in immediate need of upgrading their operating model to reduce costs, decrease the processing time and enhance the customer experience. Therefore, providers are exploring multiple ways of tapping emerging technologies to solve this industry problem. During this session, Chander Damodaran, Chief Blockchain Architect at Brillio Technologies, will discuss how blockchain could transform the mortgage business and its value chain. Blockchain can bridge the gap and provide a seamless digital channel to enable quicker and transparent mortgage processing thereby elevating the overall experience and helping drive costs down.
This session describes how Professional Services organisations can deliver within Technology-as-a-Service (IaaS) constructs, in private and public enterprise cloud scenarios. See how professional services can be packaged and funded by IaaS cash flows, based upon consumption of technology services. Learn how significant, IT infrastructure transformations can be funded through OPEX spending models with multi-year As-a-Services based contracts. Understand how the automation of repeatable services can positively impact the commercial viability of Professional Services within As-a-Service constructs. Hear how innovative IT infrastructure service offerings can elevate the impact of professional services engagements, and accelerate positive business outcomes.
If a machine can invent, does this mean the end of the patent system as we know it? The patent system, both in the US and Europe, allows companies to protect their inventions and helps foster innovation. However, Artificial Intelligence (AI) could be set to disrupt the patent system as we know it. This talk will examine how AI may change the patent landscape in the years to come. Furthermore, ways in which companies can best protect their AI related inventions will be examined from both a US and European perspective.