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Article

Build Your Own Integration Stack?

Are you crazy?

The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same
I remember back in the mid/late 1980's talking to IT departments about the concept of a relational database, and why having one on their VAX would be a good idea.

In many cases, my recommendation was met with some head scratching, brow furrowing and comments along the lines of "why would be buy one of those, when we can just build our own data storage system using RMS records?"

100 years later, it's a pretty rare occurrence that someone would decide to build their own data storage and manipulation system - if they do, it's because of some unusual requirement. As far as I know, nobody considers "build" as the default strategy in this area.

Integration - the Debate Still Continues
The build vs. buy debate still rages on when it comes to data or application integration, though. I've lost count of the conversations I've had that include phrases like "it's just a few Web Services" or "the API is easy to write to" or "it's just a simple point-to-point integration".

If you want to hire me to evaluate your situation and make a recommendation on whether you should build your own integration "mechanism" or just buy one, that's great - be forewarned that 994 times out of 1000, the answer will be "go buy one".

Oh, and the remaining 6? 5 will be "could go either way" (which means "buy") and only 1 would be "build is better for you".

Why Is Hand-Coding (Almost Always) a Bad Idea?
There are a lot of reasons, but they pretty much boil down to:

1) Integration is much more complicated than people think

2) Management and "Error Recovery" is complicated

3) Changing applications, data sources and APIs are an issue

4) Performance can be an issue

5) Maintenance and enhancement is expensive

6) Scalability to additional data sources/targets is a challenge.

Why Even Simple Integration Costs over $100,000 to Code and 11 Questions to Ponder
I've written a more comprehensive article on ebizQ's Integration Edge -  including a list of 11 questions to consider before building your own integration.

More Stories By Hollis Tibbetts

Hollis Tibbetts, or @SoftwareHollis as his 50,000+ followers know him on Twitter, is listed on various “top 100 expert lists” for a variety of topics – ranging from Cloud to Technology Marketing, Hollis is by day Evangelist & Software Technology Director at Dell Software. By night and weekends he is a commentator, speaker and all-round communicator about Software, Data and Cloud in their myriad aspects. You can also reach Hollis on LinkedIn – linkedin.com/in/SoftwareHollis. His latest online venture is OnlineBackupNews - a free reference site to help organizations protect their data, applications and systems from threats. Every year IT Downtime Costs $26.5 Billion In Lost Revenue. Even with such high costs, 56% of enterprises in North America and 30% in Europe don’t have a good disaster recovery plan. Online Backup News aims to make sure you all have the news and tips needed to keep your IT Costs down and your information safe by providing best practices, technology insights, strategies, real-world examples and various tips and techniques from a variety of industry experts.

Hollis is a regularly featured blogger at ebizQ, a venue focused on enterprise technologies, with over 100,000 subscribers. He is also an author on Social Media Today "The World's Best Thinkers on Social Media", and maintains a blog focused on protecting data: Online Backup News.
He tweets actively as @SoftwareHollis

Additional information is available at HollisTibbetts.com

All opinions expressed in the author's articles are his own personal opinions vs. those of his employer.