by Susanna Bouse
• May 5, 2020
Is Dell Boomi the best API management tool? Discover Boomi reviews, pricing, and some alternatives to Dell Boomi.
In less than a decade, cloud computing has gone from being a tech industry buzzword to a well-established best practice. The cloud is so popular that the vast majority of businesses are now using a “multi-cloud” strategy with two or more cloud providers—94 percent of enterprises, according to a study from McKinsey & Company.
Yet with so many applications and data scattered across multiple environments, organizations need a way to efficiently integrate their IT processes and workflows. It’s for this reason that many companies are turning to cloud integration software like Boomi.
Boomi—short for Dell Boomi—is a popular cloud integration and API management platform from Dell. This article will give a comprehensive, in-depth overview of everything you need to know: the features of Boomi, the pros and cons of Boomi, the Boomi pricing model, as well as user reviews of Boomi and the most popular Boomi alternatives.
Founded in 2000, Boomi launched its AtomSphere cloud integration service in 2007 and was acquired by Dell in 2010. The goal of Boomi and other iPaaS (integration platform as a service) software is to transform complex IT environments from a hindrance into a help by integrating your applications and data.
One of Boomi’s biggest selling points is its low-code, drag-and-drop user interface. This enables even non-technical business team members to get started building integrations and APIs, using their enterprise data to maximum effect. In so doing, Boomi and other WYSIWYG integration platforms can empower digital transformation initiatives.
The basic building block of Boomi is the “Atom,” a lightweight Java process that transfers data between cloud and on-premises environments. If your applications and data are located entirely in the cloud, then these processes instead run in a cloud environment, where they are known as “Atom Clouds.”
Boomi supports a variety of enterprise software integrations, including solutions such as QuickBooks, SAP, NetSuite, Dropbox, Salesforce, Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS), Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, and Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS). The software can run on the Windows and Linux operating systems and currently requires a minimum of Java 8 or above.
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The main features of Boomi include:
Special features of the Boomi platform include:
We’ve discussed the most important features of Boomi, but how much does Boomi cost?
The short answer is: it’s complicated. Boomi offers a wide array of plans and tiers, as you can see on the Dell Boomi pricing page.
For starters, the most basic Boomi plan begins at a monthly fee of $549. According to the Boomi website, this base plan is a “starter solution for small and medium businesses to integrate two applications.”
The plan includes all of the standard Boomi features: connections to on-premises and cloud applications and data sources; an unlimited number of users; and offerings such as Boomi Suggest, Boomi Assure, and Boomi Resolve intended to improve ease of use and quality of life.
However, customers on Boomi’s base plan don’t have access to some of the advanced features that make the platform an appealing choice. For example, base customers can only use Boomi in a production environment (not development or test), and don’t have access to advanced security features, message queuing, or parallel processing.
Base customers must also rely on the “standard support” plan, which includes reference guides, forums, and live chat support for quick problems and answers. Boomi guarantees that questions and inquiries from standard support customers will be answered within two business days.
The basic tier of Boomi is just one of five options available to customers. In increasing order of price and features, the other four Boomi tiers are:
All Boomi tiers, from Base to Enterprise Plus, include a 30-day free trial, without any contracts or implementation fees. This allows you to “try before you buy” at the tier that you believe best fits your business, and then scale up or down if necessary once the trial runs out.
While this tier system appears fairly straightforward, it’s complicated by the fact that businesses on one tier can pay an additional fee in order to access a feature that is only available at a higher tier. For example, customers at the Professional, Pro Plus, and Enterprise tiers can pay extra in order to use the message queuing feature, which is ordinarily available only to Enterprise Plus customers.
Finally, note that no matter which tier you select, Boomi users will have to pay extra in order to receive Premier or Premier Plus support:
Thus far, we’ve discussed the Dell Boomi platform in isolation: Boomi features, the pros and cons of Boomi, and the different Boomi pricing plans. But how does Boomi fare in the real world—that is to say, how are users reacting to the software in reviews of Boomi?
Fortunately for would-be users, Boomi has received generally positive marks on reputable business software review websites like G2 Crowd and Capterra. On G2 Crowd, for example, Boomi currently stands at an average of 4.2 out of 5 stars, based on 194 reviews.
However, Robert H. also notes one of the disadvantages of using Boomi, adding: “Boomi does a lot of the heavy lifting for you… so integrating it into a standard DevOps environment for versioning, deployment, and bug fixing can present some challenges to make it follow the existing paradigm.”
Reviewers on Capterra give Dell Boomi similarly high marks, with an average of 4.5 out of 5 stars based on 218 reviews. Chief information officer Scholl G. raves about the platform’s availability and reliability: “The most important thing I can say about Boomi is the peace of mind it brings… Once you get a process built and tested, it just works! I worry about all of our other platforms going down or cringe when new updates are released. I’ve never had that worry with Boomi. They perform monthly releases, and I’ve never had a release break one of our processes.”
In addition to DevOps challenges, another common complaint about Boomi is the pricing model—more specifically, its inflexibility and value for money. Scholl G. notes that “even if you are using basic local DISK connections or simple HTTP endpoint connections (as opposed to branded connectors such as Salesforce.com, or NetSuite), every endpoint will cost you an additional $300/month. Some pricing-flexibility on bundling certain types of connectors would be a great improvement.”
It’s clear that Dell Boomi is a worthy alternative for users who need a cloud-based integration and API management solution. But it’s far from the only such platform on the market—so how does it stack up against some of the alternatives to Boomi?
Zapier is a web-based service that offers more than 1,500 different connections between web applications in order to automate the integration process. Apps such as Gmail, Twitter, Slack, and Mailchimp can all be integrated using the Zapier platform.
Thanks to its excellent reception among users, G2 Crowd has recognized Zapier as a leader in the iPaaS field for fall 2019. Zapier has earned an average rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars on G2 Crowd, based on 453 reviews.
Creative account manager Brien S. praises Zapier’s ease of use for non-technical business users: “I love how simple it is to use for beginners and yet still provides enough flexibility to get creative with filters and more… It’s the perfect consideration for new businesses that need complex applications created with limited developer knowledge.”
However, Brien S. also cites problems with Zapier’s learning curve when starting out: “There is a bit of an introductory learning curve, especially if you have never worked in development or application-to-application integration before. I wish that there were more video tutorials or shared group sessions to learn from past experiences.”
Zapier has received an equally warm reception on Capterra, where the software has 4.5 out of 5 stars based on 1282 reviews. According to reviewer Jamie W., “we use several SaaS solutions in our day-to-day operations. Zapier is the glue that holds it all together… It has allowed us to continue improving by using the best features from a wide array of software to build a customized system that works the way we want it to, without having to enlist our own team of developers.”
Nevertheless, head of development technologies Ben M. mentions a few technical drawbacks with the Zapier platform: “Many of the integrations are a bit too limited or seem to be built in ways that require more Zaps [automated workflows] than I would prefer. For example, many integrations with project-based services (e.g. GitHub or BugHerd) work on a single project, meaning you need to maintain Zaps for all active projects. Some triggers that would be really useful are seemingly missing, requiring workarounds or extra integrations with even more services.”
Bottom Line: Zapier excels when it comes to the volume and variety of integrations, as well as its user-friendliness for non-technical users. However, not all of the integrations are seamless, and the learning curve can be steep at the beginning.
MuleSoft is an integration software solution that connects SaaS and enterprise applications both on-premises and in the cloud. The MuleSoft platform makes it easier to integrate data from the applications in your IT environment—whether they communicate using HTTP, Java Message Service (JMS), web services, Java Database Connectivity (JDBC), or some other technology.
Like Zapier, MuleSoft users have posted rave reviews on websites such as G2 Crowd and Capterra. G2 Crowd users give MuleSoft an average of 4.5 out of 5 stars, causing it to be named an iPaaS leader for fall 2019 alongside Zapier.
Reviewer Rinki S. writes: “I have been using Mulesoft API Portal for 7 or 8 months, and it’s really helpful for managing an API lifecycle easily… It can be easily integrated with other services and it almost cuts down your development time by half. It’s very useful for rapid application development, its user interface is very cool, and it’s especially useful for software designers.”
Although his overall review is positive, wireless test engineer Ravi D. sums up some of the common complaints about MuleSoft: “The overall performance of MuleSoft can continue to be refined, as it does have room for further growth and optimization… It lacks the ease of use required by the citizen integrator for solving simpler problems. Also, I wish it had a consumption-based billing model.”
On Capterra, MuleSoft’s Anypoint Platform for API-led connectivity has received 4.5 out of 5 stars based on 546 reviews. Systems analyst Amber B. praises the software’s ease of use and wide array of integrations, writing: “While the Anypoint Platform is a newcomer to API management tools, it still manages to be feature-rich and offers a great deal of resources for both API development and deployment needs. As an enterprise service bus, it offers a plethora of connectors for making our various enterprise systems work with each other while exerting minimal effort to do so. The interface is extremely user-friendly as both a developer, administrator and consumer of APIs.”
While most MuleSoft reviews are generally positive, some users do mention a number of recurring problems and performance issues. These challenges include cryptic error messages, sluggish software, difficulties with custom integrations, and a lack of perceived value for the money.
Bottom Line: Despite being a relative newcomer to the API integration market, MuleSoft has earned a loyal following for its ease of use and support for hundreds of integrations. However, some users report that the tool is not user-friendly enough for non-technical employees, while others are disappointed by MuleSoft’s performance issues and pricing model.
DreamFactory offers an enterprise-grade “API as a service” platform that can be used to rapidly and automatically generate REST APIs. Global 2000 clients such as Nike, Xerox, T-Mobile, and Intel have all leveraged DreamFactory’s instant, no-code API generation feature.
Customers, too, have sung the praises of DreamFactory on software review websites like G2 Crowd and Capterra. On G2 Crowd, where it currently holds an average rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars, DreamFactory has been named a “high performer” in the API management space for fall 2019.
Reviewer Mark A. writes that he “will actually never need to build an API again,” adding: “This is the fastest and easiest API management tool my department has ever used. We used DreamFactory to build the REST APIs we needed for a series of projects, and were able to save tens of thousands on the developer hours it would have taken otherwise. The UI is also very easy and made our particular use case involving turning SOAP services to REST a dream… Support has been fantastic!”
Another reviewer on Capterra agrees that DreamFactory has become an essential part of their arsenal, writing: “DreamFactory has a great user format that allows us to build and streamline our APIs in a simple and rapid method without coding. I honestly couldn’t imagine building APIs without DreamFactory in the future. Their support team is excellent!”
Meanwhile, senior engineer James S. calls DreamFactory “the Ruby on Rails for APIs” in a five-star review on G2 Crowd, but also notes a couple of minor issues: “The UI is a little dated, but this in no way takes away from the functionality. Some of the documentation was a little lacking, but the new guide that has just been released has been a fantastic resource for us on how to leverage the solution to its fullest.”
Bottom Line: Despite some concerns about usability, DreamFactory’s powerful features and strong customer support make it a winning option for companies in need of a robust API management solution.
While no tool can be perfect for all purposes, Dell Boomi is a mature and feature-rich cloud integration offering. Reviewers largely applaud Boomi for its simplicity and reliability, although others have been disappointed by the tool’s convoluted pricing model and its technical complexity for some use cases.
Yet Boomi is just a single option for users in need of an API management and cloud integration platform. Boomi alternatives such as DreamFactory, MuleSoft, and Zapier all constitute stiff competition. Each one has earned a loyal following of admirers, thanks to their ease of use, their rich variety of integrations, and the massive gains in productivity and efficiency that they enable.
Before choosing Boomi—or any cloud integration and API management solution—it’s imperative to do your research and find the platform that’s right for your business needs and objectives. Need some guidance on how to move forward? Get in touch with the DreamFactory team today. We’ll be happy to discuss your unique situation so that we can help you find the best API management software for you.
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