Connecting Services with Cloud Integration Tools

  • By WSO2 Team
  • 28 Mar, 2022

Photo by kjpargeter.

As software development shifted from monolithic applications to cloud applications, development became a balance of writing code to provide additional functions and integrating existing services. Cloud integration has become popular due to the increase in use of Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions. Developers can now combine a wide array of off-the-shelf cloud integration solutions to accomplish common business processes. The challenge is to integrate applications.

Middleware like web servers, application servers, and content management systems (CMSs) are the “plumbing” connecting the various software components and services, enabling them to work together to streamline data flow. This middleware sits between the operating systems and application layers on both ends.

Middleware can get expensive, though — especially if you need multiple solutions. Plus, middleware can face challenges when trying to keep up with rapidly changing, highly flexible cloud and multi-cloud architectures.

Cloud integration tools like Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) provide an alternative. iPaaS’s out-of-the-box pre-built connectors and data transformation capabilities enable integrating cloud applications across complicated multi-cloud, multi-software, and multiple database environments. While iPaaS can integrate multiple third-party apps, it can also integrate custom microservices made in-house. It can also connect these same microservices to third-party apps.

iPaaS removes or limits the need to code or acquire middleware, giving developers a powerful method for making services communicate. Let’s explore iPaaS in detail before discussing some real-world use cases.

Benefits of iPaaS

According to Gartner, 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.”

iPaaS delivers the software necessary to manage, develop, and integrate data and applications. These integrations could be in the form of pre-built connectors, APIs, or low-code integrations. iPaaS eliminates the need to build cloud-based applications for integration from scratch or use middleware to connect cloud apps housed in different parts of a multi-cloud environment.

Reduces Work for Users

iPaaS providers perform regular updates to ensure that all updates and patches are in place, eliminating the need for business users to track and perform updates manually. In most cases, iPaaS eliminates or minimizes the need to develop and maintain code to manage the cloud infrastructure and integration.

Offers a Toolbox for Developers

iPaaS provides developers with a toolbox for application integration development and deployment. Developers access a low-code solution to integrate services and build cloud-based applications quickly.

A low-code tool provides users with the building blocks that can reuse code to build the application faster. In some cases, a low-code solution provides developers with all the cloud data integration tools or code blocks needed to complete the applications. But many use cases require some custom code to complete the integration tasks.

Many low-code tools are a proprietary black box, locking you into language or deployment options. If you need to add code to these tools, you need to add it in their native language or use the editor that came with the package.

Future-proofs Integrations

Cloud infrastructure and its use cases are still developing. You don’t want to lock yourself into a specific low-code implementation that may not be future-proof.

Choreo facilitates the development of applications in a programming language of your choice. You can utilize your team’s current skill-sets to build powerful polyglot APIs, services, events, automations, tasks, and more. This gives you the flexibility to adapt to future changes.

Peeks Behind the Curtain

No matter how careful you are, code will have anomalies preventing it from running efficiently. Developers need a window into the solution to determine if it’s running effectively and find ways to improve.

For example, Choreo’s observability features provide a way for you to improve integrations and monitor anomalies. Choreo offers insights into how your solution is running without adding any additional code.

Choreo collects:

  • Application and container-level logs
  • CPU, memory, and other telemetrics from the applications’ run environments
  • Detailed statement level and trace information from the applications

Then it saves all this information in NoSQL databases for later analysis. Choreo’s visualizations help you interpret the data and determine if remediation is necessary.

Use Case #1 - iPaaS and Healthcare

Developers need to create applications integrating data from various sources and across enterprises. In the healthcare industry, these integrations change depending on the role an organization plays within the healthcare system. A single hospital’s systems must interface with multiple physician practices, suppliers, other hospitals, and insurance companies, each with its chosen software.

All these healthcare organizations use various applications, and it’s safe to assume they use different applications in different cloud environments. Plus, consider the hospital ecosystem’s dynamic as physicians enter and leave their service, or the organization changes suppliers. The integrations must be in constant flux to keep up.

Integrating new systems and applications into the hospital’s network affects billing and patient care. Regulations like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Privacy Act in the US and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union restrict who can view patient records. The application integrations need to uphold this privacy as they pass the relevant content and share data from application to application.

Additionally, transferring the required patient information must be fast, as delays could quite literally become a matter of life and death.

The more connection points within the enterprise’s ecosystem, the greater the complexity of the integrations to develop, manage, and maintain. iPaaS, with low-code capabilities and connectors, provides a standardized set of tools to perform these complex integrations.

Without standardized methods, developers would need to create integrations for each point-to-point connection. Given the number of systems within a healthcare environment and the dynamics of the connections, a middleware infrastructure isn’t practical.

iPaaS solves these challenges by offering developers a toolset that provides for needs across the ecosystem and the pieces to engineer an effective solution.

Use Case #2 - iPaaS and Open Banking

Open banking allows third-party financial services access to a consumers’ banking information. This includes transactions, account balances, and loan information. With open banking, banks and other financial institutions can exchange information seamlessly using APIs. Open banking agreements create a network of accounts that easily connect consumers, financial institutions, and other third-party providers. 

Open banking allows parties to create ad hoc relationships on an as-needed basis. Connections can also be turned off when they are no longer needed. Open banking needs to be able to integrate and adapt to changing relations and regulations in addition to the integrations of multiple networks, applications, and protocols. In some cases, the integrations need to reconcile differences between different international regulations.

IPaaS provides the infrastructure and standardized methods for providing secure integrations between system endpoints. As with healthcare, it frees the developers from adapting to changes across a wide variety of systems. Additionally, iPaaS provides the financial institution’s ability to respond to their clients’ needs.


Changes to how developers create software and movement from on-premises applications to cloud infrastructure have made integrations more complex and necessary to software development and deployment. Although middleware can perform these integrations, it can get expensive and lacks the flexibility to keep up with constantly changing environments.

Modern software development requires a solution like iPaaS. This solution supports a wide range of integrations effectively and efficiently through connectors, APIs, and low-code tools.

Choreo works with your choice of languages, enabling you to make changes whenever needed and future-proofing your integrations as your systems experience their inevitable fluctuations. To learn more about how Choreo can save time while improving your integrations, sign-up for a free trial.

About the Author: Dr. Applebaum is an analytics professional with experience in architecting and implementing enterprise analytics and big data projects. He has a demonstrated ability to develop and implement decision analytics focused on increasing the bottom line. He has written numerous articles and presented at national and international conferences on analytics, data governance, IoT and big data. Experience bringing business context to analytics to impact the bottom line in a variety of industries including manufacturing, financial services and telecom. Implements new product and service concepts.

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