What is Agile Integration?

Agile integration is an agile approach to the integration of new tools with existing software systems. The traditional approach to integration involves building an enterprise service bus (ESB), which is a hub that lets all the applications share common resources. However, individual applications still exist in silos, and the architecture isn't scalable. The traditional approach works for legacy applications that work on monolithic architectures.

Modern, cloud-based applications, on the other hand, don't work on rigid monolithic architectures. Instead, modern apps allow you to break functionality into separate services, which can be accessed independently. These microservices need flexible communication channels for scalability, and hence, the need for an agile approach to integration.

Agile integration decentralizes communication, such that services can be easily added or removed, without affecting the rest of the software. Agile integration, particularly, complements the agile approach to development, where software is developed iteratively. Every code sprint adds specific functionality to the software. With the agile approach to integration, these iterations can be tested and deployed independently, without disrupting the rest of the ecosystem.

Benefits of Agile Integration

Today, technology is changing at a rapid pace, and these changes dictate the markets. In order to stay competitive, companies need to continually deploy better software to meet the ever-changing expectations of customers. That's where agile integration comes in.

With the rise in popularity of public and private clouds, businesses, increasingly, are relying on cloud-based services for fast deployment of applications. However, the cloud approach needs the flexibility to adapt to varying environments and unexpected workloads. With agile integration, scaling a multi-cloud strategy becomes easier and less disruptive. Some of the key benefits of agile integration are:

  • Faster time to market

In traditional integration architecture, components of an application are coupled. In other words, if one part of the application is upgraded, for instance, the rest of the application has to go out of service. Agile integration allows key components to be placed in independent containers, such that it becomes easy to add or remove components, without affecting other services. Thus, it allows businesses to scale quickly, reducing their time to market for new services or products.

  • Lower risks

Agile relies on breaking down a complex project into simpler parts. In the case of agile integration, integration is thought of from the very beginning. Thus, there is no risk of a complex software tool being totally incompatible with the existing architecture.

Important Pillars of Agile Integration

While there are several aspects to agile integration in enterprises, the practice rests on three key pillars. These are:

Distributed integration

Traditional software architecture adopts a centralized approach to software deployment. Only a handful of people within an organization have the expertise to deploy new solutions, which leads to delays and backlogs. Agile integration relies on a distributed environment for the quick deployment of new tools and systems. With the API-based integration, individual teams can control the necessary deployment of new systems, and their integration in the existing architecture.

Containers

These are application bundles that have all the critical components needed for fast and easy deployment of new systems. Agile integration relies on the standardization of containers to enable the reuse of critical components across an organization.

APIs

They are reusable interfaces that contain key assets, which serve as building blocks for teams throughout an organization. With the help of APIs, internal as well as external users can use a business's applications or a part of its applications. Since different users can interact with different APIs of the same organization, depending on their purpose, it promotes a decentralized approach to enterprise-wide integration.