Introducing the WSO2 Integration Agile Platform

Integration has become the sexiest sector of enterprise software. We are on a mission to make every customer’s integration as agile as they want it to be.

Integration isn’t uncool anymore. It’s no longer the murky “middleware” that was once considered a non-critical component of enterprise infrastructure. It’s no longer simply EAI or an ESB.

The enterprise integration market is nearly $34 billion and growing. As the demand for cloud services, SaaS app consumption, scaling services through application architecture disaggregation, the pervasiveness of containerized apps, and the mass adoption of serverless infrastructure, the more we’ll see, and need, integration.

The markets and vendors know this too, with funding for, and acquisition of, more integration-related firms than ever.

What’s driving integration’s growth? There are three drivers:

  1. SaaS to SaaS Integration: with 300K different SaaS apps adopted by enterprises globally, integration is how these systems now interoperate.
  2. Artificial Intelligence: as companies view recommendations powered by machine learning algorithms as a competitive weapon, the power of their analysis is correlated to the richness of the data feeding their algorithms. Integration has become the backbone necessary to feed ever larger pools that feed AI systems.
  3. Scaling Apps: as demands to scale applications globally, instantly, spread from the uber vendors (think Netflix or AWS) to the rest of us, our development teams are disaggregating their architectures to achieve higher forms of iterative deployment and elasticity. This hyper componentization is leading to a trillion programmable endpoints and making integration the glue that brings our APIs and microservices together as a whole.

The componentization trend driven by scaling demand allows development teams to innovate asynchronously. It allows line-of-business leaders to plan newer competitive moves without having to build infrastructures from scratch. With future applications containing 100s of components, integration provides the “glue”, workflow, resiliency, reassembly, and re-use. In other words, innovation is driven by integration.

We are not the only ones to recognize this. Gartner says about half the time and cost of building a digital platform will be integration. Development, platforms, and integration will increasingly coexist for organizations that see software as a core competency (which, according to Marc Andreesen, every company must become a software company).

Integration is not just hot, it’s the foundation of how any digitally-driven organization will innovate in the future.

The “Integration Gap”

WSO2 is about to celebrate our 13th anniversary. During that time we have worked on 2000 integration projects with customers.

Collaboration on over 2000 integration projects that now fuel 6 trillion transactions each year

Over that time, we’ve made an interesting observation: release cycles have improved, but they have not become agile. Our customers have steadily improved the release cycle for their projects, but that improvement has plateaued.

Over the past five years, we’ve seen our customers plateau in improvements to release iterations

Furthermore, the 2018 State of Agile report observed that only 4% of companies pursuing agile were seeing adaptive market benefits, even though more than 75% of enterprises are actively practicing agile. The 2018 Forrester Developer Survey implies that we are collectively undoing any agility gains made over the past decade.

The progress made over the past two decades from iterative development practices may be reversing

Why is this? It stems from the best practices and patterns that we’ve collectively advocated as an industry, from Service-Oriented Architecture, the API economy, and bi-modal forms of IT. The architectures we have advocated have created consequences across people, process, and technology.

  1. PEOPLE: Center of Excellence teams add governance barriers.
  2. PROCESS: middleware forces app dev teams to work through trickle-down “gates” to enter production.
  3. TECHNOLOGY: middleware is a dependency slowing application development teams.

Agility happens when people, process and technology are functioning to enable continuous, iterative improvements. Dependencies, whether through organizational limitations, management processes, or technology libraries create higher and higher gates that must be overcome prior to every release.

Although many development organizations may be using agile principles, few integration organizations achieve agility.

This is the heart of the “integration gap,” integration is everywhere, but its best practice implementation inhibits the adoption of agile practices.

Integration Agile

At WSO2, we are the largest open source integration vendor. We see healthy demand for our products, but we have learned that we need to help every organization view software as their core competency. With integration as your data and scaling backbone, your competitiveness is tied to how agile you will be with integration.

This puts on a new mission where we must make integration a tailwind to agility, not its headwind.

We will help every organization become as integration agile was you want to be.

Integration Agile: a mission that will make every organization view software as their core competency

We call this mission, “Integration Agile” and we will do it by helping your organization to align your people, process and technology to overcome the integration agility gap.

The WSO2 Integration Agile Platform

We are introducing the evolution of our offerings designed to help any organization become as agile as they want to be.

WSO2 Integration Agile Platform: people, process, and open source technology to make integration agile

At WSO2Con in San Francisco, we’re unveiling our new platform as a unified offering consisting of

  • WSO2 Maturity Model for Agility: Agility is a journey, and each team can achieve different levels integration agility. We are introducing a 5-phase maturity model for agility, where organizations can self-assess, as well as plan for their own transformation to whatever level of agility they desire.
  • WSO2 Methodology for Agility: To guide each organization about how to adopt integration agility practices, we are introducing a reference methodology that guides each organization to best practices for people, process, and architecture to achieve their ideal form of agility. Underlying this methodology are best practices of how to develop, reuse, run and manage integrations.
  • WSO2 Architecture for Agility: We’ve standardized the patterns for integration deployment. As technology has evolved, we’ve helped organizations deploy layered, segmented, and now, cell-based architectures each of which provide different forms of scalability, governance, and agility.
  • WSO2 Open Source Products: Our award-winning product pillars for Integration, Identity and Access Management, API Management, and Analytics & Streaming. We are announcing our quarterly release of these products, integrated and interoperable, with this quarter’s theme tied to microservices architectures.

Microservices are essential to advancing integration technology to iterative deployment necessary for agility

Today at WSO2Con, WSO2 announced the summer release of our platform with a focus on driving microservices innovation. By delivering WSO2 functionality on a cloud native, open source platform, WSO2 facilitate agility by extending platform-wide support for the development and deployment of distributed, lightweight microservices. These capabilities include:

Management of microservices APIs is addressed by WSO2 API Microgateway, which provides secure, low-latency access to microservices and eliminates the need for a central gateway by enabling enterprises to apply API management policies in a decentralized fashion.

Real-time microservices analytics are enabled by WSO2 Stream Processor, a lightweight runtime that can run in distributed deployments using Kafka and container-native environments, such as Kubernetes. It adds support for message tracing across microservices using the OpenTracing standard for better insights into performance.

Microservices integration is optimized using the MicroESB in WSO2 Enterprise Integrator. The MicroESB is a lightweight mediation runtime that includes all core mediation capabilities and offers a significantly faster startup time, making it ideal for containers.

Secure microservices are provided by WSO2 Identity Server which now supports role-based access control (RBAC) and validation using the Java Web Token (JWT) standard that has been widely adopted for microservices.

WSO2 Maturity Model for Agility

Our maturity model addresses the alignment of people, process and technology to help transform your development and integration capability. We’ve defined 5 phases that describe your agility alignment with both internal and external customer needs.

We are offering maturity assessments, and self-assessments. We can aide your organization understand where they are at on this curve and what is required to achieve higher forms of agility.

WSO2 Reference Architecture for Agility

The architectural pattern that an organization deploys directly impacts the maximum level of agility that you can achieve. We are introducing a reference architecture for agility that defines the best practices and patterns that organizations deploy for two types of commonly deployed architecture and one new one:

  1. Layered Architecture: functional capabilities grouped in layers by following a System of Systems view. It is a centralized system where data moves from layer to layer.
  2. Segmented Architecture: functional capabilities sub-grouped within layers based on organizational ownership. It is a centralized system where data flow moves from layer to layer.
  3. Cell-Based Architecture: functional capabilities grouped in an architecture unit based on scope and ownership. It is a decentralized where data moves within and across cells and governance is transparently applied through a control plane embedded within cells.

The architecture that you define will create a ceiling on the level of agility that you can achieve

Asanka Abeysinghe, our VP of Architecture out of CTO Office, has collected our experiences across customers to prepare our vision of these architectures. You can learn about these patterns and learn how to apply them to your projects with this white paper.

Cell-Based Architecture for the Composable Enterprise

What happens if teams can self-organize to produce units of architecture which are continuously deployed and incrementally updated without the organizational or technological dependencies that create gates to releases?

We call an approach to achieve this a cell-based architecture.

Cells are independently deployed by self organizing teams, and then used to construct applications through composition

A cell is a collection of components, grouped from design and implementation into deployment. A cell is independently deployable, manageable, and observable. Components inside the cell can communicate with each other using supported transports for intra-cell communication. And all external communication must happen through the edge-gateway or proxy, which provides APIs, events, or streams via governed network endpoints using standard network protocols.

Every cell has its own Gateway for ingress and egress along with a control plane for distributed governance

Self-organizing teams producing cells is the best way to achieve maximum agility. It is the self-containment of people, process and technology dependencies that eliminate the gates that slow down process.

Cells can be built with a variety of technologies and programming languages, including Java and Node.JS.

At WSO2, we are making it easy and simple to generate cells with Ballerina, a cloud native programming language. Ballerina programs have these integration properties as part of the cell’s code, embedded within it. And soon, Ballerina will generate cells (with Gateways, observability, deployment and dependencies included) as part of every build from a developer.

When cell-based architectures are combined with an event-based hybrid integration platform, such as what we offer with WSO2 Enterprise Integration deployed with Kubernetes, your organization transitions into the Composable Enterprise. You are not just adopting the cloud, you have become cloud native giving you autonomous releases without compromising on change-control authority.

Composable Enterprise with Cloud Native approaches allow IT to reallocate budget from Center of Excellence to development and operations

With the Composable Enterprise, middleware Center-of-Excellence (CoE) silos are removed. This allows enterprise IT to reallocate budget into development and operations, which are the drivers of innovation. By shifting traditional integration operations into code, we accelerate the development cycle and eliminate gates.

The Future of Development is Integration

WSO2 now much more than a product company. We believe, like Gartner, that all development organizations are now integration organizations. And to deliver that, we built on our customer experience where we consistently helped transform them to become Integration Agile.

As you, our customers, now look at the integration needs (and opportunities) ahead, we hope you now ask yourself questions like why shouldn’t your integration now be as agile as your development?

Well, we’re here to help. Send me an email and let’s get the conversation started.

tyler@wso2.com