Service Virtualization Promises to Address Integration Challenges

These days, pretty much any need you have as a consumer is covered by an enterprise app. All businesses are jumping into the web space, and if not, they probably won’t be in business for long. While all this technology is no longer new, what we’re seeing now is the growing use of service integration – all the new services needing to work together reliably.

Judith S. Hurwitz, president and CEO of Hurwitz & Associates, Inc., and Peter Klenk, manager of software technology for IBM Rational, discussed the growing need during a recent webcast. The two also have a new book, “Service Virtualization for Dummies.”

Biggest Tech Transition in Decades

Hurwitz noted that the technology transition now in progress is one the biggest in recent decades. One challenge is the growing mixture of different types of virtual and physical infrastructure. There is also growth in communication with customers, suppliers and partners in the execution of business processes. The meaningful use of big data is adding another layer of complexity as organizations find ways to use this data to better engage their customers and improve their supply chains.

At the foremost of this transition towards more richly integrated software components is the need for quality. “There are a lot of issues that will impact our brands and customers,” Hurwitz said. “If a customer is on a site and presses the ‘buy’ button, that latency can be very important.”

Each dependency in a large application has the potential to create a latency bottleneck. But these bottlenecks are hard to find when a developer cannot test these integration points.

Although performance is an important concern, organizations also need to identify potential security and compliance vulnerabilities. “Security and compliance takes on a whole new meaning in this environment,” Hurwitz said.

Another Concern: Dexterity in Responding to Competitors

At the same time, organizations need to have the ability to rapidly respond to new service offerings from a competitor. Making these kinds of adjustments to the existing application can often change the integration with numerous back-end applications.

Until recently, an application was built and ran on a single environment. Today, new applications can be integrated into CRM, HRM, analytics and billing systems. All of the data required to make the application work is dependent on the integration with these different systems and the different ways the data has to move. This problem is exacerbated by the fact that some SaaS providers update their systems 10-20 times per day.

Testing used to be a very easy process because it was done at the end of development, but testing cycles are no longer linear. Applications must be tested on many levels throughout the development process.

“We are moving into an era where we don’t always see where the host is for an application,” Hurwitz said. “We see private and public clouds and the dynamics of Service Virtualization.”