APIs Give Rise to New Class of Cloud Brokers

One of the great things about APIs is that they make applications more accessible than ever in the age of the cloud. But just because an application is accessible doesn’t necessarily mean there is a mechanism in place to consume data from the application via the API it exposes. In fact, the tools needed to consume that data is giving rise to a new class of middleware that is collectively being referred to as cloud brokering software.

The latest vendor to join the ranks of this emerging class of vendors is Cloud Sherpa, which today announced that it is acquiring Innoveer Solutions and Navigis, two companies that specialize in integrating customer relationship management (CRM) and IT service management applications in the cloud.

According to Cloud Sherpas CEO David Northington, the goal is to leverage the expertise that Cloud Sherpas built up integrating Google applications into the rest of the enterprise. As such, Cloud Sherpa is developing the expertise required to develop and deploy cloud brokering technologies that integrate multiple types of cloud applications such as Salesforce.com and ServiceNow with more traditional enterprise applications.

While the concept of using middleware to integrate applications is hardly new, cloud brokering generally refers to the deployment of lightweight middleware as a service that leverages technologies such as RESTful APIs to dynamically integrate diverse applications. As organizations make greater use of software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications integrating what have become silos of data strewn across the cloud has become a major problem. APIs go a long way towards solving that problem, but the expertise needed to integrate one set of APIs with another across a common Integration Platform is still required, which is one reason we’re starting to see a cottage industry start to emerge around API integration.

Ultimately, APIs should wind up transforming the IT services industry as we currently know it by putting less emphasis on writing custom connectors. Instead, middleware will be just another service that organizations invoke to broker connections between applications, which should serve to dramatically lower the cost of enterprise IT by reducing the cost of application integration to a percentage of the IT budget that is significantly smaller than when highly-customized middleware was deployed only on premise by IT consultants that charged many more times than the actual cost of the applications.

Of course, application integration will never be free. But by the same token it shouldn’t be orders of magnitude more expensive to integrate one application with another than the total cost of the actual applications.

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