The Challenge of Connecting Hybrid Architectures

6 minute read | 23 Apr 2024

By Mark Emmons

Things were much more straightforward in the early days of computing. In the client-server era, all processing happened in one central location. “Dumb” terminals were connected to that source. It was pretty much the same setup for every business.

Then, gradually, processing became more powerful and distributed. That’s why we now all use laptops and carry little devices with more computing capability than the original NASA spacecraft – mobile phones.

Today, business data is everywhere. Behind four walls (and a sturdy firewall) in physical on-premises data centers. Or in public clouds like Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, or Microsoft Azure. Private clouds, which are dedicated to your organization and can still be on-premises or cloud-based. Software as a service (SaaS) applications are another obvious location for your data, too. Or, most likely, a mix of all of them.

Hybrid architectures are the reality in today’s modern world.

Organizations now manage sprawling technology landscapes that (they hope) make the most sense for operating their businesses. But because data is in so many places – fragmented and siloed, if you will – it’s increasingly difficult for companies to figure out where it is, ensure its accuracy, and make it easily accessible so that they can derive valuable insights. Ultimately, it’s hard to succeed in a digital transformation for their core operational backbone and other digital offerings.1

That complexity helps explain the growing importance of system connectivity. It’s also why businesses invest heavily in integration platform as a service (iPaaS) solutions — to unify their data technology landscapes.

How Does Your iPaaS Stack Up?

Not all platforms are the same. It’s essential to determine whether any iPaaS you’re considering is up to the challenge of connecting anything, anywhere. Our new “iPaaS Vendor Evaluation Guide” explores the questions you should ask as you perform your due diligence.

No. 1 on our list: Can the platform connect hybrid architectures?

Modern technology architectures are complicated. (Yeah, like you already don’t know that.)

Many businesses have found that lifting and shifting workloads from data centers to the cloud can help them move faster and more efficiently by allowing the business to focus on core capabilities, not IT Infrastructure, by offloading the maintenance task to someone else and saving on in-house IT costs. As cloud adoption grew, we witnessed the rise of hyperscalers (Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure) and applications such as Salesforce and Workday. They worry about the hardware so that businesses can focus on what they do best.

But what about when moving to the cloud doesn’t make sense? There are sound reasons to keep some business data on-premises. Maybe there are security or governmental compliance issues. Perhaps the decision is made that some data simply shouldn’t reside “out there” because of risk.

So, can the iPaaS you’re looking at connect all of those systems seamlessly and securely? Here are three quick points to consider.

Does the Platform Require a Connection to the Cloud?

Most businesses don’t want to open firewall holes for a cloud-first integration application to get into their environments. They’re also not interested in installing integration agents that require network connectivity to a cloud infrastructure to run the integrations that access their on-premises information. An integration platform with the capability of a runtime engine that can sit behind your firewall eases that concern. Even if you lose connectivity to the cloud and your network goes down, you can still execute integrations between your on-premises systems and applications.

Ensuring the platform doesn’t only specialize in cloud-to-cloud connectivity and won’t struggle with a hybrid environment will avoid unnecessary downtime, late nights, and working weekends.

Will the Platform Be Flexible to Deal With Tomorrow’s Challenges?

You need to connect to your current endpoints so you’re able to access data today. But in business, the only constant is change. Every organization continues to add more applications and switch out systems. (And we’ll discuss the coming impact of artificial intelligence more in a moment.) The platform should be inherently flexible to handle whatever integration and automation needs you’ll encounter tomorrow, the day after, and so on. It’s great that the platform might have “recipes” for connecting System A to Application B. But what happens when your requirements change or that recipe doesn’t fit your specific business needs and customizations?

As your business evolves, an integration platform should reduce headaches, not increase them.

Is the Platform Independent?

You don’t want your options limited regarding the best systems for the business. Today, the trend is for organizations to think of their application portfolio as modular Lego blocks that are easily added and subtracted from the architecture, aka “composable.” You want an integration platform that doesn’t point you to a vendor’s preferred environment first.

With an independent platform that integrates any system, you make your own decisions in a hybrid architecture. You’re not forced to run your operations as somebody else says you should.

The only thing anyone knows about technology is that it will continue to change, and every business must adapt to those changes. You’ll need an integration platform that provides flexible deployment for any environment.

Setting the Stage for the Future

Unifying disconnected architectures and simplifying unwieldy processes will help you solve pressing problems. But they’ll also set the stage for what’s coming next. The need for easy access to all of your data will become even more critical in the future because it’s an essential component in determining your success with the newest technology revolution – AI.

Ensuring the data readiness to power AI requires connectivity between operations on-premises and in multicloud environments. But that will only happen if you have the right integration platform for your business.

Ready to learn more? Download our free “iPaaS Vendor Evaluation Guide” to read about other essential questions to ask.


1. “Designed for Digital: How to Architect Your Business for Sustained Success,” Jeanne W. Ross, Cynthia M. Beath, and Martin Mocker