by Susanna Bouse
• February 10, 2020
With the relative newness of the iPaaS (Integration Platform as a Service) vertical, no single platform has emerged as the de facto choice for enterprises. This can present a challenge if you’re trying to choose among the large pool of solutions available – especially when certain solutions labeled “iPaaS” serve very different use-cases.
To help you sort through the rich sea of available products, this guide starts by organizing the market into four categories. Then it discusses each category in detail – and the specific vendors offering solutions in those categories – so you can focus on the solution that best fits your business requirements.
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The canon definition of iPaaS by Gartner is an excellent starting point, as it offers a general description of the space:
“Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) is a suite of cloud services enabling development, execution, and governance of integration flows connecting any combination of on-premises and cloud-based processes, services, applications and data within individual or across multiple organizations.”
However, as TechTarget points out, “there is no single, universal set of features and functionality that’s essential for every offering.” As such, it’s important to divide the iPaaS vertical into four distinct categories before considering your options.
Taking these two definitions into consideration, we’ve identified the following four categories on the market today:
Now let’s explore these categories in more detail.
The “Simple Automation iPaaS” category includes Zapier and Integromat. These are kind of like iPaaS on training wheels because they offer a very user-friendly way to connect apps and building workflows between them.
The leading Simple Automation iPaaS is Zapier:
Key takeaways: Simple Automation iPaaS can serve many valuable use-cases. They don’t require much in the way of tech skills, they’re secure, and they’re very affordable. That being said, you may need to upgrade to an advanced iPaaS if your needs require greater flexibility, or if the apps you want to connect are not found on their platforms.
The “True iPaaS” category includes DreamFactory, Dell Boomi, and Jitterbit. From a developer’s perspective, these tools offer user-friendly, no-code and low-code interfaces that facilitate rapid API development, app integration, and the building of IoT infrastructure.
DreamFactory iPaaS was designed to be the fastest, securest way to integrate data and applications on the web, cloud, or ground. The most unique feature of DreamFactory is its ability to automate the REST API creation process, so you can develop, publish, and manage APIs in a matter of minutes. DreamFactory offers the following features: live API docs, support for SFTP, SOAP, e-mail, deep SQL, an MQTT connector for IoT endpoints, compliance with standards (like GDPR, HIPAA, CCPA, etc.), role-based access control (RBAC), flexible support for popular enterprise authentication solutions, and a great deal more. Offering both cloud-based and on-premise versions, you’re free to choose the solution that best fits your company needs. Learn more about DreamFactory here.
Dell Boomi is a well-known iPaaS solution that offers a suite of tools for cloud-based app integration and API management. Boomi supports traditional and modern EDI communication standards such as XML, EDIFACT, X12, RosettaNet, HC7, Tradacoms, and it also lets you define your own standards. It also supports trading partner communications through AS2, Web Services that use SOAP or HTML, and FTP/Secure FTP. Learn more about Dell Boomi here.
Jitterbit is an iPaaS known for its user-friendly interface and lower price point. In addition to offering enterprise-level capabilities, Jitterbit is also appropriate for small and medium-sized businesses. This platform empowers organizations to quickly connect their mobile, social, on-premises, and cloud-based applications. Something that set’s Jitterbit apart is its incorporation of ETL (extract, transform, load) tools that offer basic data loading features. Learn more about Jitterbit here.
Celigo features 150+ pre-built integrations to connect a wide variety of the most common cloud-apps and data. Celigo features a host of tools that allow you to build and share custom stacks, create tokens for direct API calls, set up your own wrapper, and other features. One advantage of Celigo is the free version of the platform, which lets you start using the platform without cost and upgrade to a paid version as needed. Learn more about Celigo here.
True iPaaS solutions make the integration specialist’s job easier by dramatically speeding up the process of building, publishing, and managing APIs. Solutions found in this category require less training and expertise compared to the next category (hybrid ESB/iPaaS), but they are still built for developers. The true iPaaS category also comes into play when your enterprise needs to create APIs for a broader variety of apps/data, and when your workflows demand complex business logic.
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The “Hybrid ESB/iPaaS” category includes solutions like Mulesoft and IBM App Connect. These tools can achieve all of the iPaaS-related tasks listed in the first two categories, in addition to serving ESB (enterprise service bus) use cases.
Leading Hybrid ESB solutions:
Key takeaways: Because most large enterprises are already using ESBs, many turn to Hybrid ESB/iPaaS to manage their cloud-app integrations. However, the costs and user training required for these platforms are much higher than an iPaaS-only solution. Many enterprises can save considerable time and money on API management and cloud-app integrations by using a True iPaaS – like DreamFactory, Jitterbit, or Dell Boomi – to supplement their existing ESB solution.
The “Industry-Specific iPaaS” category includes solutions like Modulus Data and SPS Commerce. Industry-specific iPaaS are geared toward providing app integrations for a target industry – such as healthcare, higher education, financial services, accounting services, insurance, and the medical industry.
Key takeaways: Industry-specific iPaaS offer value to enterprises in industries that have unique standards and security requirements that a general iPaaS can’t serve. That being said, some of these solutions will not have the most up-to-date technological features, so it’s important to consider whether your industry-specific use-case is better serviced by a more general iPaaS platform.
Now that you have a better understanding of the categories of iPaaS available, and which categories the most popular iPaaS solutions fall under, you’re better prepared to select the right platform for your integration use-case.
If you’re currently searching for a “True iPaaS” solution, DreamFactory offers the unique capacity to automatically generate REST APIs from any database, allowing you to create and publish an API in minutes, rather than weeks. To try DreamFactory for yourself, contact us for a free trial now.
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