Integration in the Cloud

As Ray Wang tweeted today, Workday are dusting off the Cape Clear Eclipse technology and planning on making it more widely available to our customers. Why are we doing this? Well, there is one very simple reason: We want to make it easier for our customers to consume the powerful Web Services that we expose.

Annrai O’Toole October 20, 2009
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As Ray Wang tweeted today, Workday is dusting off the Cape Clear Eclipse technology and planning on making it more widely available to our customers. Why are we doing this? Well, there is one very simple reason: We want to make it easier for our customers to consume the powerful Web Services that we expose.

We now have over 241 Web Services that enable our customers to access core Workday business transactions and data. (This is up from 7 Web Services 18 months ago). These Web Services provide a very powerful way for our customers to integrate and extend core Workday business processes. Due to the power and flexibility that the Web Services offer, they have become very popular in our customer base. For example, one of our implementation partners recently created a payroll integration (with no assistance from Workday) using the “Get_Payees” Web Service operation.

The one downside with Web Services is that you need some pretty powerful middleware tools to easily consume them. At Cape Clear (the company Workday acquired back in 2008), we built a very powerful Eclipse-based toolset that enables developers to use graphical tools to easily create powerful (and complex) integrations (see figure 1).

Since the acquisition, we have been busily improving and developing the Cape Clear toolset, but we haven’t made it generally available outside a few select customers. Part of the reason for keeping it under wraps is that it was dependent on having an on-premise middleware server. As a “cloud” company, we didn’t want to be in the business of supporting on-premise middleware.

Figure 1: Cape Clear Eclipse Tool

So, to overcome the limitation of needing an on-premise stack, Workday is working to make our core middleware technology (our Enterprise Service Bus) available in the Cloud.

Using this model our customers will be able to use our powerful tooling to create their needed integrations and then deploy those integrations to our Cloud ESB.

Others have also been pursuing the notion of integrations deployed in the cloud: Boomi and Cast Iron have offerings that provide a similar, if more generic approach. However, i think it is safe to say that Workday is the first application vendor to try to address, in a very comprehensive way, the full lifecycle of the integration challenge in all its myriad shapes and sizes—from simple user-level connections up to sophisticated orchestration and data transforms.

We will of course continue to invest in our very popular browser-based integration tools for solving simple integration scenarios. However, the Cloud ESB will introduce a very powerful, yet accessible option to compliment our browser based tools for more complex integration scenarios.

This model has a number of very distinct benefits to our customers (as listed in this graphic), but most of all, we just hope that it makes it easier for our customers to leverage our Web Services to meet both simple and complex business/integration requirements. We’ll keep you posted on new developments as we move into 2010, and I look forward to your comments and feedback in the meantime.

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