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What Is Cloud Integration? Breaking Down iPaaS and Other Data Integration Tools

Data has become one of the most valuable commodities in the world. Its total global value is estimated at around $3 trillion, placing it as the third-most-valuable industry in the world. Only the oil and banking industries have a larger market cap.

Across all industries, “67% of EMEA businesses think [data] should be shown as an asset on the company balance sheet,” according to As a result, companies are exploring new ways to sell, share and integrate data into modern technologies.

Big data sets can be used for market analytics, application optimization or demand planning in virtually any commercial or business practice. That’s just a small example of the large-scale impact. On a more personal level, companies use personal data for microtargeting advertisements, optimizing recruitment and customizing user experience.

Some of the practices seem a bit sketchy, especially since nobody reads “terms of service” agreements. Even scarier is the threat posed by hackers and the dark web. Hackers stole $12.8 billion worth of data in 2016 alone. And that number is sure to rise in 2017.

Markets for big data analytics and data security are booming for obvious reasons, but because data is so valuable, new technologies have been developed to facilitate its use. The data Integration technology market is expected to nearly double from $6.44 billion in 2017 to $12.24 billion by 2022.

In response to this evolving market, we’ve expanded our single Cloud data integration category to seven unique cloud data integration categories. The new segments include: iPaaS, Big Data Integration platforms, Cloud Migration tools, E-Commerce Data Integration platforms, Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) solutions, ETL Tools and Stream Analytics programs.

Below, we’ve outlined some of the differences in the categories, how each type of tool can benefit a user or company and some products currently leading the way in each space (for categories with enough data). All review totals and data are accurate as of Dec. 21, 2017.


Integration platform as a service (iPaaS) is a popular buzzword for cloud integration suites. The term has only been around for a few years, but it’s quickly gaining popularity. The tools provide a console to sync up data, integrate applications and add service-oriented architecture (SOA) components.

These tools can save a ton of time on the development end by utilizing existing applications. It can also simplify the API communication process, saving time and effort while adding a lot of data to work with.

But the biggest benefit, really, is the ability for companies to utilize and sync their own existing SaaS applications. Clearly, a lot of business software offerings don’t come with thousands of integrations with one another. So, instead of buying everything from one vendor, users can find the best product for each specific purpose and integrate them through an iPaaS platform.

Applications can trigger each other or simply share databases to unify information availability. There are tons of dynamic capabilities with iPaaS and it can be a major time-saver while adapting to the digital transformation.

Key company benefits of iPaaS software:
— Improved device and data security
— Improved endpoint health monitoring
— Improved malware identification

To qualify for inclusion in the iPaaS category, a product must:
— Provide a dashboard for managing cloud integrations
— Allow users to govern and manage connections
— Connect data from multiple disparate systems
— Consolidate cloud solutions into a single platform

Top iPaaS Products

Mulesoft Anypoint Platform
Reviews: 260
Stars: 4.5/5

Dell Boomi
Reviews: 129
Stars: 4.5/5

Reviews: 132
Stars: 4.5/5

Big data integration platform

The surplus of data available today has quickly increased the popularity of big data. It’s traditionally used for things like predictive analytics or training machine-learning algorithms. But integrating big data into external applications through big data integration platforms adds another level of functionality in a practical form.

Data can be collected from IoT endpoints, applications, social platforms and virtually anything else. It has to be cleaned through a big data processing tool, but it won’t do much if it’s just sitting in a database somewhere.

After enormous datasets run through processors such as Hadoop or BigQuery, the data can be put to use. These platforms facilitate the transfer of that data to external databases, applications and analytics tools.

Key company benefits of big data integration software:
— Utilization of big data in applications
— Improved integration speed and efficiency
— Increased data quality

To qualify for inclusion in the big data integration platform category, a product must:
— Integrate big data processing data to external sources
— Ingest and distribute large sets of homogenous and heterogenous data
— Create a structured pipeline for big data management processes

Top Big Data Integration Platforms

Reviews: 31
Stars: 4.0/5

Omni-Gen Data Management Platform
Reviews: 13
Stars: 3.6/5

Reviews: 13
Stars: 3.9/5

Cloud migration

While the digital transformation has made a lot of things easier, it’s also required a lot of data to be transferred to public and private clouds. This is where cloud migration tools come in handy. Information from legacy programs can be quickly shipped into the digital ether and re-used elsewhere.

Much like file migration tools, cloud migration software helps to relocate enterprise-level files to their new home: the cloud. Many of the tools also come with features to encrypt, secure and backup data in the cloud.

Companies will typically use these to transfer files to databases or a content management system. A lot of the time they’re geared towards specific legacy software such as Sharepoint or Outlook, but many facilitate a wide range of migration processes.

Key company benefits of cloud migration software:
— Simplified digital transformation
— Cloud storage and backup capabilities
— Simplified file allocation and organization

To qualify for inclusion in the cloud migration category, a product must:
— Sync applications with cloud storage systems
— Assist with migration of large numbers of files and various file types through the cloud
— Provide data security tools, backup assistance, or integration with backup software to keep files safe during migration

Top Cloud Migration Products

Reviews: 94
Stars: 4.1/5

Lotus Notes to Outlook Conversion
Reviews: 21
Stars: 3.6/5

Reviews: 11
Stars: 3.7/5

E-Commerce data integration

E-commerce data integration is a fairly narrow segment of data integration tools, used specifically for integrating data to and from e-commerce platforms with external applications and databases. Many of them utilize the same integration model as iPaaS, but hold a more specific purpose.

The most common integrations seen with these tools are company databases, CRM solutions and marketing automation solutions. They work to both integrate your company’s relevant data sets into customer-facing applications and to store information from purchases, leads and users for future analysis.

They’re often used to sync real-time data to improve the customer experience and improve sales effectiveness. Keeping up-to-date data at the fingertips of sales professionals can greatly expand their sales toolkit and improve the validity of their argument.

There’s still some overlap with these and iPaaS, but those tools will typically have specific e-commerce modules to facilitate these practices. Those modules or optional features usually include a list of SaaS integrations, industry-specific APIs and guided search features to improve usability.

Key company benefits of e-commerce data integration software:
— Increased buyer data availability
— Improved product integration
— Increased application functionality
— Simplified data management

To qualify for inclusion in the e-commerce data integration category, a product must:
— Sync e-commerce data across applications
— Connect cloud-based applications to one another
— Secure data in transfer between cloud applications
— Provide real-time updates to e-commerce platforms or internal departments

Top E-Commerce Data Integration Products

Reviews: 17
Stars: 4.8/5

Adeptia Integration Suite
Reviews: 14
Stars: 4.3/5

Bedrock Data
Reviews: 8
Stars: 3.8/5

Enterprise service bus (ESB)

These enterprise-scale tools are mapping systems for interconnecting applications in service-oriented architecture (SOA). Enterprise service bus (ESB) tools have been around for some time, well before cloud-based apps were everyday tools.

Companies use these tools to route messages between services and monitor their connections. When the flow of data is disrupted, ESB offerings provide a set of tools to diagnose and resolve the issue at hand.

They also come in handy when deploying enterprise applications. ESB tools can facilitate deployments and help users manage and control software versions. They also help scale solutions to distribute within an enterprise-wide user base.

Unlike iPaaS solutions, ESB systems are typically used to string together internal applications. It can be used to improve legacy systems and handle complex integrations among on-premise applications.

Key company benefits of ESB software:
— Simplified integration workflow
— Facilitated integrations for complex IT systems
— Improved configuration management and deployment capabilities

To qualify for inclusion in the ESB category, a product must:
— Integrate data and information between complex IT systems
— Help manage IT system configuration
— Monitor and control deployments or messages between IT systems
— Delegate an enterprise message model for integration requirements

Top Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) Products

Reviews: 64
Stars: 4.0/5

Reviews: 56
Stars: 4.7/5

IBM Integration Bus on Cloud
Reviews: 39
Stars: 4.1/5

ETL tools

Extract, load and transform (ETL) tools have been around the longest out of all of these categories. ETL itself is a process of data extraction and transformation while using a data warehouse.

Extracting refers to taking data from multiple sources such as databases and data warehouses. Transforming could be a number of things from normalizing datasets to organizing columns and lists. Loading refers to implementing data in its final destination.

The process builds and facilitates a pipeline for data collection and allocation. Companies typically use them to create a process for integrating data across systems, migrating data between sources and making data more comprehensible for everyday employees.

Key company benefits of ETL software:
— Simplified data extraction
— Large-batch processing
— Data transformation and visualization

To qualify for inclusion in the ETL category, a product must:
— Facilitate extract, transform and load processes
— Transform data for quality or visualization
— Audit or record integration data
— Archive data for backup, future reference or analysis

Top ETL Products

Reviews: 30
Stars: 4.6/5

Reviews: 24
Stars: 4.7/5

SAP HANA Cloud Integration
Reviews: 39
Stars: 4.4/5

Stream analytics

Streaming analytics may be the newest of these cloud data integration categories. They help monitor and store real-time data across multiple endpoints and applications.

They really came onto the scene as a result of the internet of things (IOT) rising in popularity. These tools can sync to IoT endpoints to monitor performance, diagnose bugs and collect usage information.

Large segments of sensors and end users create complex events that can be difficult to document. These tools are able to process huge datasets in real time to improve a company’s understanding of its network. Companies can see each and every endpoint in use while documenting user actions.

In the end, these tools help improve companies’ knowledge of where their endpoints are and how they’re being used. This helps them prevent failover, increase availability and gain a better understanding of how they’re being used.

Key company benefits of stream analytics software:
— Improved real-time performance monitoring
— Behavioral and performance insights
— Expanded data warehousing capabilities
— Reduced application and database failover

To qualify for inclusion in the stream analytics category, a product must:
— Monitor events pertaining to information exchange in real time
— Alert users of device or network failures using triggers
— Provide actionable analytical insights

Top Stream Analytics Products

Reviews: 93
Stars: 4.4/5

Treasure Data
Reviews: 58
Stars: 4.3/5

Reviews: 10
Stars: 3.6/5

The cloud age has brought a number of new issues from security to vendor lock in. But it’s also brought a new range of capabilities to users across devices, locations and networks.

Cloud data integration helps users take advantage of their existing infrastructure and systems. They can help users to improve the collection distribution and analysis of complex datasets.

If you’re looking for new ways to integrate and utilize cloud-based data, cloud integration tools are here to help. For further product research, browse our Cloud Data Integration Software categories to learn more.

Explore further: cloud integration

As noted above, CDI and analytics go hand in hand. Learn more about analytics integrations here.

Read More

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