Tuesday Apr 15, 2014

Ricoh Americas Delivers on Anytime, Anywhere Promise with Cloud and On-Premise Integration

 Cloud.  On-Premise.  Mobile.  Integration.  Not just buzz words in the IT industry, but real ways that organizations are deploying and implementing software in the enterprise to drive business value.  Join us on this webcast with the CIO of Ricoh Americas Corporation - Balaji Rangaswamy to hear how they are leveraging Oracle AppAdvantage powered by Oracle Fusion Middleware.  In this webcast you will learn how Ricoh provided value-added mobile services to their customers and how they developed a services-oriented integration architecture designed to be flexible and drive innovation.  To register for this webcast click on the link below.

Webcast: Ricoh Differentiatest Business with Unified Cloud and On-Premises Business Integration

Date: April 29, 2014

Time: 10 AM PT/1 PM ET

Wednesday Nov 13, 2013

Cloud to On-Premise Connectivity Patterns

Rajesh RahejaDo you have a requirement to convert an Opportunity in Salesforce.com to an Order/Quote in Oracle E-Business Suite? Or maybe you want the creation of an Oracle RightNow Incident to trigger an on-premise Oracle E-Business Suite Service Request creation for RMA and Field Scheduling? If so, read on.

In a previous blog post, I discussed integrating TO cloud applications, however the use cases above are the reverse i.e. receiving data FROM cloud applications (SaaS) TO on-premise applications/databases that sit behind a firewall. Oracle SOA Suite is assumed to be on-premise with with Oracle Service Bus as the mediation and virtualization layerThe main considerations for the patterns are are security i.e. shielding enterprise resources; and scalability i.e. minimizing firewall latency. Let me use an analogy to help visualize the patterns: the on-premise system is your home - with your most valuable possessions - and the SaaS app is your favorite on-line store which regularly ships (inbound calls) various types of parcels/items (message types/service operations). You need the items at home (on-premise) but want to safe guard against misguided elements of society (internet threats) who may masquerade as postal workers and vandalize property (denial of service?). Let's look at the patterns.

Pattern: Pull from Cloud


The on-premise system polls from the SaaS apps and picks up the message instead of having it delivered. This may be done using Oracle RightNow Object Query Language or SOAP APIs. This is particularly suited for certain integration approaches wherein messages are trickling in, can be centralized and batched e.g. retrieving event notifications on an hourly schedule from the Oracle Messaging Service.

To compare this pattern with the home analogy, you are avoiding any deliveries to your home and instead go to the post office/UPS/Fedex store to pick up your parcel. Every time.

Pros: On-premise assets not exposed to the Internet, firewall issues avoided by only initiating outbound connections

Cons: Polling mechanisms may affect performance, may not satisfy near real-time requirements

Pattern: Open Firewall Ports

The on-premise system exposes the web services that needs to be invoked by the cloud application. This requires opening up firewall ports, routing calls to the appropriate internal services behind the firewall. Fusion Applications uses this pattern, and auto-provisions the services on the various virtual hosts to secure the topology. This works well for service integration, but may not suffice for large volume data integration.

Using the home analogy, you have now decided to receive parcels instead of going to the post office every time. A door mail slot cut out allows the postman can drop small parcels, but there is still concern about cutting new holes for larger packages.

Pros: optimal pattern for near real-time needs, simpler administration once the service is provisioned

Cons: Needs firewall ports to be opened up for new services, may not suffice for batch integration requiring direct database access

Pattern: Virtual Private Networking

The on-premise network is "extended" to the cloud (or an intermediary on-demand / managed service offering) using Virtual Private Networking (VPN) so that messages are delivered to the on-premise system in a trusted channel.

Using the home analogy, you entrust a set of keys with a neighbor or property manager who receives the packages, and then drops it inside your home.

Pros: Individual firewall ports don't need to be opened, more suited for high scalability needs, can support large volume data integration, easier management of one connection vs a multitude of open ports

Cons: VPN setup, specific hardware support, requires cloud provider to support virtual private computing

Pattern: Reverse Proxy / API Gateway

The on-premise system uses a reverse proxy "API gateway" software on the DMZ to receive messages. The reverse proxy can be implemented using various mechanisms e.g. Oracle API Gateway provides firewall and proxy services along with comprehensive security, auditing, throttling benefits. If a firewall already exists, then Oracle Service Bus or Oracle HTTP Server virtual hosts can provide reverse proxy implementations on the DMZ. Custom built implementations are also possible if specific functionality (such as message store-n-forward) is needed.

In the home analogy, this pattern sits in between cutting mail slots and handing over keys. Instead, you install (and maintain) a mailbox in your home premises outside your door. The post office delivers the parcels in your mailbox, from where you can securely retrieve it.

Pros: Very secure, very flexible

Cons: Introduces a new software component, needs DMZ deployment and management

Pattern: On-Premise Agent (Tunneling)

A light weight "agent" software sits behind the firewall and initiates the communication with the cloud, thereby avoiding firewall issues. It then maintains a bi-directional connection either with pull or push based approaches using (or abusing, depending on your viewpoint) the HTTP protocol. Programming protocols such as Comet, WebSockets, HTTP CONNECT, HTTP SSH Tunneling etc. are possible implementation options.

In the home analogy, a resident receives the parcel from the postal worker by opening the door, however you still take precautions with chain locks and package inspections.

Pros: Light weight software, IT doesn't need to setup anything

Cons: May bypass critical firewall checks e.g. virus scans, separate software download, proliferation of non-IT managed software

Conclusion

The patterns above are some of the most commonly encountered ones for cloud to on-premise integration. Selecting the right pattern for your project involves looking at your scalability needs, security restrictions, sync vs asynchronous implementation, near real-time vs batch expectations, cloud provider capabilities, budget, and more. In some cases, the basic "Pull from Cloud" may be acceptable, whereas in others, an extensive VPN topology may be well justified.

For more details on the Oracle cloud integration strategy, download this white paper.

Wednesday Aug 14, 2013

Keste Blog Series: Integrated Cloud Solutions - Bridging the Integration Divide across Cloud and On-Premise Applications

By Sri Ayyeppen, Keste CTO and Co-Founder

I recently authored a whitepaper entitled, "Migrating Applications to Engineered Systems: A Strategic Roadmap to a Cloud Integrated Platform," which discusses how companies can capture significant business impact through an integrated cloud-based solution. Over the course of this blog series, I’d share some of these findings with you and will also hone in on use cases with organizations looking to take advantage of integration with applications, especially Oracle Applications, Fusion Applications, custom Oracle Applications, among others.

Many companies are taking advantage of the proliferation of cloud-based SaaS applications (Salesforce®, Workday®, etc.), yet the need for on-premise applications isn’t going away. In order to find a solution for integrating across applications and platforms, companies need to take a broader, comprehensive and standardized approach to bridging this divide.

An integrated cloud solution is a great fit for companies that need more out of their applications environment. For example, companies that need to incrementally expand their IT application footprint, or companies that need to quickly and confidently scale their IT infrastructure without impact to performance (e.g., SaaS companies whose products depend on IT for delivery). Integrated cloud solutions can take many forms, but most often I find clients need to link their existing IT applications together, such as:

  • Existing cloud applications—like social media, networking, or marketing sites
  • On-premise applications—like HR, ERP, service, and support programs
  • Mobile apps—for smart phones, tablets, or other mobile devices
  • Partner or business-to-business applications—connecting vendors, suppliers, or distributors
  • Devices—any end-point that could potentially integrate with a cloud such as cars, satellite receivers, smart phones, HVAC systems, communication or utility grids, etc.


Over the past several years of working with customers to develop integrated cloud solutions, I have found that it's very important to start by documenting the current and future business use cases that the IT environment must support. Understanding these business requirements allows me to analyze both the business and data integration needs for my clients:

  • Business integration needs—understand the required service processes such as orchestration, mediation, and service routing to meet key business requirements/outcomes.
  • Data integration needs—analyze the transactional processes such as batch vs. real-time, ETL, and data replication requirements to ensure the right data is passed to the right application at the right time.

This leads me to a key step in supporting my customers’ integrated cloud journey—developing an IT reference architecture. This ‘IT blueprint’ ensures that the integrated cloud solution will meet both current and the future business needs. The reference architecture shows optimal transaction design patterns and the configurations of hardware and software. It also provides a well-defined feedback loop that allows IT staff to monitor and adjust transaction parameters as necessary.

I also find the reference architecture as a useful tool to determine the best product mix for organizations looking at cloud and on-premise integration, including:

  • Oracle SOA Suitewhich offers the middleware tools and capabilities to create a fully scalable, integrated cloud-to-cloud or cloud-to premise platform, such as Oracle API Gateway for external cloud communications, Oracle Service Bus for internal service virtualization, and Oracle Coherence to speed data transaction processing.
  • Oracle BPM Suite—which supports design and implementation of all process types and case management flows, delivering immediate and impactful ROI and driving enhanced customer experience and intelligent operations.
  • Oracle Data Integration products like Oracle GoldenGate, which offers real-time data integration, transactional data replication, and data comparison across heterogeneous systems.

And for organizations with Oracle Applications or custom applications built on Oracle technologies, there are obvious advantages to leveraging Oracle for cloud integration—these include lower total cost of operation (TCO), a standardized platform, and a proven solution built on industry best practices, among others.

After helping dozens of companies implement integrated cloud solutions, we have found that we can deliver these new architectures in as little as two to three months, making the leap to this next generation IT solution fast, without disrupting current business capabilities.

In the coming weeks, I’ll continue my discussion on the business value that integrated cloud computing can provide by showcasing a series of customer experiences.  We'll discuss specific use cases for cloud integration deployment based on real world implementations like those at Aramark, JDSU, and other organizations. The series will continue to focus on implementation strategies and best practices while highlighting the business impact of this new technology paradigm.

About the Author:

Sri Ayyeppen is chief technology officer (CTO) and co-founder of Keste, a leading worldwide Oracle solutions provider based in Dallas. As the CTO, he is responsible for leading teams delivering solutions with Oracle Applications, technology and infrastructure. His primary focus is on applications and business process integration through service-oriented architecture (SOA) technologies and highly available enterprise deployment with Engineered Systems and Oracle Cloud. Within this role, some of his key areas of responsibilities include leading Enterprise Architecture team for Keste customers, driving principles and practices around creating best-in-class architecture leveraging present-day technology like enterprise software, business integration products and mobility.

Sri is a well known industry expert and you can find him discussing IT on @SriAyyeppen and LinkedIn: SriAyyeppen

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