By Robert Fox, VP Emerging Technologies, Liaison Technologies
My refrigerator stopped working recently. This was not good. No warning, just kaput! This is drama of course. Food is now on a collision course for spoiling. It’s amazing to think, all we ask of a refrigerator is to keep things cold. When it works as expected, we take it for granted. When it stops, we feel great pain.
I think of middleware or Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) software much the same way. It should be reliable – never fail. If it does then data piles up, processes hang, productivity halts and business suffers. Today there are many B2B/EAI products and services available that offer various bells and whistles. Flexibility is definitely a selling point, and many times a differentiator when shopping for a solution. At the core however, is reliability. If moving to the cloud, look for service level agreements (SLAs) that scream out to you “We will never go down, and we will never lose your data” (shameless plug – like Liaison cloud services!). If looking for an on-premise solution, look for software that has a solid foundational architecture, and boasts fault-tolerance, load-balancing and automatic failover (shameless plug #2 – like Liaison ECS!).
My refrigerator made it 15 years – that’s technically slightly longer than the company I work for has been around (no disrespect Liaison). It’s not reasonable to think that a static solution selected will still be relevant in 15 years from now even if my new refrigerator is still ticking. Yet there’s a distinct possibility that some of the processes or applications supported today might be. Take a hard look at your current business landscape – identify the oldest pieces that are still in use today – scary isn’t it?
I’m hoping my next refrigerator will host web services, and subscribe to some in the cloud. I would love nothing more than a fridge that will tell me when my milk is bad, do my shopping for me and schedule its own maintenance. (That would make my wife happy as well!) However nice that all may be – I just want it to still be running in 15 years. Never lose sight of the important things.