Sponsored by IBM
Center for Automated Integration
Learn more

What Does a Hybrid Environment Mean in a Modern World


Organizations need an easy, scalable, and secure way to integrate many data sources across hybrid environments. A suitable solution must support enterprise messaging, event streaming, high-speed data transfer, and more.

Modern applications are built by bringing together multiple data sources, legacy systems, and services. Melding these items into a conglomerate application or service requires supporting a hybrid environment. The reason: Quite often, these elements reside in multiple places, including on-premises and on private and public clouds.

Certainly, there are ways to provide access to siloed data, legacy systems, and other services. Many organizations routinely expose these elements via APIs, events, and microservices. The challenge is how to integrate the elements in a way that ensures performance, security, scalability, and other enterprise-class characteristics.

What’s needed?

Organizations developing modern apps must bring together data, processes, and services. In particular, data needs to be injected into business processes when organizations try to digitally transform or create modern offerings.

The challenge is that with so much data distributed so widely, the speed at which an organization can bring that data together and make it available via APIs and events is fundamental to the success of any effort. Any solution must have some key features, including the ability to:

  • Access data from any system, in any format, and bring it together for use in applications and services, no matter how diverse the hybrid environment.
  • Leverage the performance, scalability, security, and other features of legacy back-end systems while integrating their data and services into new applications and services without disrupting the existing back-end systems.
  • Combine data from various company-owned and third parties beyond their traditional siloed boundaries to create new meaning and value from it.
  • Ensureany integration supports or includes enterprise-grade features for error recovery, fault tolerance, log capture, performance analysis, and more.

Organizations often focus on integration gateways to help realize these capabilities. Such gateways connect elements in a hybrid environment and share data and services made available via APIs.

See also: How Events and APIs Enable Modern Real-Time Applications

Focus on the gateways

 An organization’s IT environment is distributed across multiple cloud, data center, and architecture layers in today’s world, making it difficult to properly connect and secure all endpoints. A suitable gateway can help enable organizations to achieve scalable integration, allowing them to successfully develop applications and services that can automate processes, improve productivity, and enable new applications in today’s hybrid environments.   

A gateway for hybrid environments must accommodate the connectivity and movement of multiple data types, including real-time, events, and streaming data. As such, a suitable gateway must support:

  • Enterprise messaging: A gateway must enable the flow of real-time information from anywhere at any time by providing seamless passage of reliable message delivery without message loss, duplication, or complex recovery in the event of a system or network issue. It must include fully automated failover, dynamically distributed messaging workloads, high throughput, and more to provide highly available and low latency.
  • Event streaming: A gateway must be able to analyze data associated with an event and respond to it in real time. That allows an organization to take advantage of real-time data insights and create responsive experiences.
  • High-speed data transfer: A gateway must be able to move huge amounts of data between on-premises and cloud, or cloud-to-cloud, rapidly and predictably with a high level of security. Such capabilities are increasingly needed today to support the fast adoption of cloud platforms when data sets are very large.
  • Platform-level security, automation, and monitoring: A gateway must be able to extend connectivity and integration beyond the enterprise with capabilities that protect APIs, the data it moves, and the systems behind them. It must also be able to detect issues and act on them via automated responses.

One additional factor to consider when selecting a gateway is its deployment options. Many newer gateways are being offered as software or software-as-a-service. There is still a strong case for using appliances, particularly in hybrid environments where an organization needs high performance, great scalability, and enterprise-class availability, reliability, and security.

Gateway solutions for hybrid integration

The IBM DataPower Gateway is a widely used gateway for modern hybrid workloads. It is a purpose-built secure gateway for integration. It offers enterprise features to enforce consistent governance, security, and control policies across all channels and workloads.

That is in contrast to single channel-specific solutions many organizations have deployed for years. While those solutions could handle their intended tasks, many organizations found that they needed many of them to support additional channels. That approach consumed resources, was complex to manage, and costly to support.

The IBM DataPower Gateway does not have those problems. It includes built-in transformation capabilities to meld rich web applications with more formal enterprise standards such as REST+JSON or SOAP+XML. Specifically, it provides native JSON, REST, SOAP, and MQ support.

The gateway is available in physical and virtual form factors, including an optimized containerized distribution. That allows organizations to select the deployment model that best fits their needs.

Recently, IBM announced the general availability of the DataPower Gateway X3, the latest edition of its multi-channel gateway as a physical appliance built to help organizations secure, integrate, and automate applications and services. It is an all-in-one integration solution that ties traditional web services with modern event-based and API workloads.

DataPower Gateway X3 supports many application types, including web services, common security frameworks for API management, and real-time streaming services, such as Apache Kafka and GraphQL. 

The new version comes with increased processing capacity and network bandwidth compared to its predecessor, the X2. The enhancements help reduce bottlenecks in moments of high traffic and improve processing efficiency. It also has new security features, such as tamper resistance, cryptographic operations, and message and access protection, enabling enterprise-level security across all integrations.

More recently, IBM announced the latest evolution of the IBM MQ Appliance — the M2003. The IBM MQ Appliance M2003 brings together next-generation hardware and IBM MQ firmware, packed with the latest updates and designed to provide a more powerful appliance than its predecessor, and is a robust, secure, and scalable messaging solution.

It acts as a messaging center, moving messages between applications, services, and systems across cloud and on-premises environments at scale. With IBM MQ, messages are protected by network encryption on the wire as they flow between applications, optional end-to-end encryption for the protection and privacy of messages, and newly available disk encryption to protect messages at rest while they are waiting to be transferred.

Final word

Organizations need an easy, scalable, and secure way to integrate many data sources across hybrid environments. Any solution used must accommodate the high volumes of real-time, events, and streaming data. A suitable solution must support enterprise messaging, event streaming, and high-speed data transfer. It must also offer platform-level security, automation, and monitoring.

Increasingly, the solution of choice is a purpose-built integration gateway that addresses the business needs of modern applications based on cloud and on-premises elements.

Salvatore Salamone

About Salvatore Salamone

Salvatore Salamone is a physicist by training who has been writing about science and information technology for more than 30 years. During that time, he has been a senior or executive editor at many industry-leading publications including High Technology, Network World, Byte Magazine, Data Communications, LAN Times, InternetWeek, Bio-IT World, and Lightwave, The Journal of Fiber Optics. He also is the author of three business technology books.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *