Challenging business logic problems? 7 reasons why Azure is the right cloud platform
Flexible scalability, the right toolbox for business logic, the availability of specialists, data-driven work and appealing pricing. These are some of the reasons why companies are increasingly turning to public cloud integration platforms to build their business and integration layer – better known as iPaaS (Integration Platform as a Service). Like Microsoft’s Azure Integration Services (AIS), for instance. Technology Director Friso Geerlings zooms in on the power and practicality of Azure, especially for business integration and processes.
The need for ‘composable’ applications
In recent years, many businesses have become increasingly dependent on the enormous ‘suites’ of traditional platform vendors. Such as on-premise or hybrid integration platforms such as Oracle, Mule, WSO2, Dell Boomi, or IBM for example. But large CMS systems and elaborate marketing packages are also the standard rather than the exception. And yet the need for ‘composable’ architecture grows by the day. Cloud integration platform Azure Integration Services, but also AWS AppFlow, plays into that.
Benefits of Azure Integration Services
The fact that companies like to build with the Azure workflow or data services, is understandable. That’s why choosing Azure comes with a few advantages:
Azure is cloud-based and offers serverless services. That means the (network) infrastructure and workflows can be deployed ‘as code’, are charged based on use and barely need any management – letting the user focus more on business value.
Businesses don’t need to worry about scalability anymore. And the road to a successful deployment is a lot simpler, too. Through Azure DevOps, Azure offers a large collection of best practices and user-friendly workflows for the development process, making the process more standardised and transferable.
There’s an entire ecosystem of training and certification available, which makes it very accessible to train people. It also makes it easier to test the level of specialists in the field.
The pricing is interesting in comparison to on-premise platforms, but also to pure low-code platforms such as Mendix. Although, of course, it is always appropriate to carefully map out the business case for your specific situation.
It provides high-level tooling. Visual work with both drag-and-drop integrations and code for DevOps and GitOps is possible.
Data is an integrated part of Azure Integration Services. With dashboarding, you can easily collect KPIs and insights and act on them. Especially if you use Azure’s tooling as well, setting up data-driven initiatives, on top of your integrations, is quick and simple.
On aspects like these, Azure is fighting a fierce battle with traditional players to win the hearts of businesses and developers alike. And winning in certain areas. Take the Developer Experience and the ease of integration, for instance. Which excites everyone at iO.
Azure – everyday use
But what does it mean to use Azure Integration Services every day? As an Azure Cloud Solution partner, iO deals with both sides of AIS. Both the development of business and integration layer features for companies, and the development of connectors that are made available by companies in the Azure Logic Apps store. We have been working on APIs, middleware and integrations for years. Over time, data and data flows have come to play a bigger part in addition to that. If we zoom in on that, we get excited about some specific Azure features:
The amount of time you need to develop a Proof of Concept (PoC) is considerably lower than on classic platforms. With on-premise software, you have a lot more initial work to configure and set up processes, while you can perfectly have a first PoC completely up and running with Azure in, let’s say, two weeks.
With Azure Integration Services, the steps to professionally version and integrate a PoC into a professional development pipeline, are right at your fingertips.
The Azure Integration Services have powerful visual editors. We’ve noticed a growing need for insights and data-driven decision-making in the business. And for (limited) possibilities to let ‘citizen developers’ finetune ‘something integration’ in all kinds of places in the organisation. With dashboards, visual displays and insights options, Azure fills many of a business’ needs. And those citizen developers can actually do something with those editors.
Azure offers many out-of-the-box opportunities. A lot more than traditional tools. There are many services already available on the platform and the range will only continue to grow, providing you with a rich landscape.
Azure Integration Services in a broader Azure world
Besides Azure Integration Services, Azure also offers other strong solutions. Think for example of Hybrid Cloud and Infrastructure, Serverless Computing and services that support Application Development, Cognitive Services (AI) and Data & Analytics. This allows you to find a suitable solution for each business issue.
The power of a rich cloud platform like Azure grows as a project requires a broader spectrum of cloud services. Especially when a solution becomes more mature and supports more parts of the business. Large cloud players like Azure continuously improve the consistency and uniform ‘automation’ of services. This has several advantages:
A data project can have about the same architecture principles and security baseline as a web project.
Heavy databases from your business’ core can be managed in the same way as the often-changing lightweight front-end services at customer touchpoints.
The pricing and the checkout model remain easy to understand. Even if you use over 50 different components.
Azure as a cloud platform is therefore not only scalable in terms of business volume but also grows with the complexity of the business.
Friso GeerlingsChief Technology Officer - iO
At iO, Friso spends his day taking on only the most complex tech challenges for various high-profile (financial services) clients. All while getting the most out of iO’s tech teams and building connections between developers, users and systems. He regularly publishes articles of his own to further strengthen these bonds.