Dell Boomi connects the cloud to the enterprise

Dell's Boomi AtomSphere can bridge internal systems with public clouds

Dell has updated its Boomi software to make it easier to exchange data between public cloud services and on-premise applications, in anticipation of greater use of public clouds by large organizations.

"The type of customer buying Boomi is in some process of migrating to the cloud," said Rick Nucci, CTO of Dell Boomi. "This release is tailored for larger enterprise customers."

Boomi, which Dell purchased last November, makes a data integration product called AtomSphere Spring, which is sold as both a service and as on-premise software.

The new version, AtomSphere Spring 11, adds Java Message Service connectors for middleware products offered by IBM, Progress Software, Tibco and WebMethods.

The connectors provide a way to connect an organization's internal data sources with those from public cloud services, without going through the messy business of writing code to connect to each cloud provider's API (application programming interface). AtomSphere provides a graphical user interface for administrators and analysts to connect different systems by way of linking icons on a palette.

Using the AtomSphere service rather than extending existing middleware might be advantageous for a number of reasons, Nucci argued. "On-premise middleware was typically built before the cloud was around, so [it was] not built with cloud integration requirements on hand," Nucci said.

One such requirement might be security, Nucci said. "With cloud integration, data is moving between ownership boundaries. The need to enforce security policies and audit data moves was really not that important when integration was behind the firewall. Now, with the cloud, it is critical," he said.

Boomi's connectivity software is available as a service or can be downloaded for on-premise use. Boomi works with more than 70 public cloud services, according to Dell.

In addition to middleware connectivity, the updated software has other new features to help manage the movement of large amounts of data among different cloud providers.

AtomSphere now offers the ability, through a caching layer, to transmit only data that has been changed since the last time it was transferred. "If an enterprise is looking at setting up a cloud BI (business intelligence) initiative, we have a way of processing into that cloud data warehouse just what is new," Nucci said.

The amount of data AtomSphere can transfer has also been increased, and the new service also supports Salesforce.com's bulk data API, which calculates the optimal batch size of data being sent to Salesforce.com. "It's a fairly complex API and we have abstracted away all those details by building it into our connector," Nucci said.

Boomi has also set up its own set of APIs for customers who wish to monitor operations from their own systems-management software, such as HP's OpenView.

"It's not unusual for enterprises to be running hundreds or even thousands of applications that have to be managed on separate systems. The Boomi platform provides a way for these platforms to communicate with one another seamlessly," said Charles King, an analyst with Pund-IT. The platform is especially useful if these internal systems "are interacting with third-party providers delivering cloud-based services."

Boomi's purchase by Dell has enabled the company to build out its marketing and development staff, Nucci said. In turn, Dell now has a solution to offer customers seeking to move some of their workloads to the cloud. "It allows Dell to offer a broader capability," Nucci said.

Earlier this year, Dell launched a specialized hardware and software package for retailers, in which Boomi plays a role, Nucci said. "When a retailer wants near-real-time access to their point-of-sale data, Boomi can extract that data directly from the store systems and deliver it directly to centralized IT," he said.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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Joab Jackson

IDG News Service
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