As businesses grow and their processes and services become more complex, they begin to explore methodologies and technologies that are aimed at streamlining their workflow. One way they do this is by migrating many of their business-critical applications from on-premises data centers to the cloud. After all, cloud computing—which involves using remote servers to store and process data—provides numerous benefits in the form of on-demand resource provisioning, elasticity in resource deployment, reduced labor, energy, and IT costs, and other advantages.
Nevertheless, many organizations that utilize cloud environments end up having to deal with another kind of challenge altogether in the form of data silos. Essentially, a data silo can be described as an environment or situation in which there are disparate groups of end-users within an organization that are not able to freely or effectively communicate and share their data with one another.
Data silos can sometimes arise due to hostile company cultures or bureaucratic inefficiencies within organizational structures. Such cases can be described as cultural information silos. However, data silos can also have purely technological roots. When it comes to moving data between on-premises data centers and the cloud for example, data silos can form when IT administrators struggle to oversee and maintain the diverse and separate resources that they end up having at their disposal.
Integration Means Greater Collaboration and Efficiency
Naturally, it is often the case that the problems caused by technologies that create data silos are exacerbated by company cultures that do not promote collaboration in the first place. However, forward-thinking organizations are more likely to consider solutions to fix the problem. When it comes to the challenge of data silos previously illustrated, cloud data integration is the most common solution typically considered by innovative organizations.
Simply put, cloud integration is the process of ensuring that all the data and applications used by the organization within their cloud and on-premises platforms work in perfect harmony. Integration ensures that users across the organization will have the same version of all important data no matter when or where they access the information they require.
Types of Cloud Data Integration
Understanding the basic types of cloud data integration is easy enough; you simply have to consider where the data is coming from and into which platform or environment it is being integrated:
- Hybrid Cloud Integration – This involves integrating data stores from on-premises solutions to a new cloud platform.
- Intra-Cloud Data Integration – As the name suggests, intra-cloud data integration involves synchronizing data between two or more databases within the same cloud platform.
- Inter-Cloud Data Integration – Finally, there is also inter-cloud data integration, which involves integrating data between two separate or distinct cloud solutions.
Shopping for a Cloud Integration Solution: Two Major Considerations
When looking for the right cloud integration solution for your organization, there are two very important considerations that you should take into account:
One of the two most important things you should consider is just how secure the solution is and how well it can protect the data being migrated. Remember that public clouds tend to used by many tenants, so you need to make sure that your data can be kept segregated from these other environments, in addition to being kept secure from any unauthorized access, whether from within your organization or from without it. Your chosen integration solution should employ proper protective measures like SSL encryption, authentication, and network segmentation.
Reliability and High Availability
Another important consideration is whether or not your cloud integration solution is reliable enough and has high availability capabilities. High availability in data integration services means that the system is durable and reliable enough to survive cloud system outages, in addition to being able to maintain its integrity and ability to operate after the failure, even without human intervention. To be able to do this, your cloud integration solution should have effective backup and redundancy mechanisms that will allow you to have access to your data even in the event of a failure.
Cloud data integration is an effective solution that will allow you to address data silos and improve your business processes in general. By allowing you to accelerate data movement and facilitate information sharing across different platforms, your organization will be afforded the performance, tractability, and control it needs to meet daily challenges head on.