Definition

cloud integration

This definition is part of our Essential Guide: SaaS applications integration: Strategies and best practices for success

Cloud integration is the process of configuring multiple application programs to share data in the cloud. In a network that incorporates cloud integration, diverse applications communicate either directly or through third-party software.

Cloud integration offers the following advantages over older, compartmentalized organizational methods.

  • Each user can access personal data in real time from any device.
  • Each user can access personal data from any location with Internet access.
  • Each user can integrate personal data such as calendars and contact lists served by diverse application programs.
  • Each user can employ the same logon information (username and password) for all personal applications.
  • The system efficiently passes control messages among application programs.
  • By avoiding the use of data silos, data integrity is maintained and data conflicts (which can arise from redundancy) are avoided.
  • Cloud integration offers scalability to allow for future expansion in terms of the number of users, the number of applications, or both.

In recent years, cloud integration has gained favor among organizations, corporations, and government agencies that implement SaaS (Software as a Service), a software distribution model in which applications are hosted by a vendor or service provider and made available to users over the Internet.

This was last updated in May 2012

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I think that at this point the whole topic could be extended by definition of PaaS (Platform as a Service) and IfaaS (Interface as a Service) acronyms which are quite important to cover this topic comprehensively. 
Going for cloud integration you can pick up one of those above to fulfill your communication needs. The first one, started  by SAG and MuleESB is a good idea for organizations with an appetite for more than 100 interfaces as licensing cost is nothing you can forget about. The real alternatives for all above is an Interface as a Service licensing model, when you can create a single communication channel and start to use it really quickly. With prices starting from 800$ it's affordable and easy to manage even for smaller companies. As I've managed to verify, right now only ESBeetle (www.esbeetle.com) is doing this kind of an enterprise service. 
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Good info, however it's important to note that whenever going for cloud integration, it's important to ensure your network is "cloud ready" to prevent any common mistakes on implementation. There are some good reading materials from stratoscale about these subjects and it's important to internalize those topics in order to create a smooth transition environment. 
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