The winter release of Informatica Intelligent Cloud Services – IICS – (previously called Informatica Cloud Services) became generally available in December 2017, and was publicly announced in January 2018. The release is meant to address the new realities of the multicloud enterprise organization, with its unique demands for data integration. The integration-platform-as-a-service (iPaaS) offering takes a forward-leaning approach, by providing newly redesigned microservices architecture and AI-driven insights and guidance, which operate at the unified enterprise metadata management layer, all powered by Informatica's CLAIRE (Cloud-scale AI-powered Real-time Engine).
Multicloud architecture necessitates a smart, guided approach
Organizations are increasingly seeking out a multicloud and hybrid approach to information management. In the quest for digital transformation, the enterprise is forging strategy to avoid cloud vendor lock-in, and to maximize efficiency by choosing the best-suited cloud for each individual project or processing requirement. Data is increasingly fragmented, with applications and processes spread across the cloud and on-premises. The contemporary iPaaS needs to be able to integrate data from multiple clouds and environments, not just from a single on-premises source to a single cloud.
Major improvements to both the front and back end
The winter release of Informatica Intelligent Cloud Services iPaaS was built to address the growing complexity of modern cloud ecosystems, while abstracting businesses and users away from the churn of the evolving technology landscape. While the winter release has numerous notable updates and additions to functionality, three major changes span the entire platform:
modular, secure microservices architecture
new, unified, and modernized UI for all users
CLAIRE AI-powered metadata intelligence.
Significantly, the back end of the product has been reengineered, with a redesigned microservices-based architecture. This allows for safer, faster, and more agile upgrades of services, with minimal impact to users and application availability. Additionally, it helps deliver higher reliability and resiliency for the entire cloud platform. The new user interface provides a consistent look and feel across all IICS services, is tailored to user roles, and unifies the experience under a single pane of glass. Workspaces in the UI, which allow users to keep multiple tabs open within a cloud service, help improve productivity by letting users navigate from one screen to another as they open multiple assets while completing their integration workflows.
Informatica's CLAIRE AI provides the "secret sauce" to smart integration
However, as the complexity of cloud and hybrid ecosystems increases, the biggest differentiator for an iPaaS will be the ability to abstract the users away from this complexity. Not only does an iPaaS require technical infrastructure for integration, but also needs to offer guidance for users. With the increased complexity of data sources and locations, users need help to achieve increased productivity and automation across all integration and data management services in the cloud.
This is where AI comes in. Informatica's CLAIRE, which operates at the unified enterprise metadata layer, is what now puts the "Intelligent" in Informatica Intelligent Cloud Services: not only does it operate on Informatica metadata, but also the entire corpus of enterprise metadata. This approach to machine learning and artificial intelligence, embedded at the platform layer, reflects the Ovum perspective that such technologies are increasingly becoming features rather than distinct products; the capabilities they enable should perfuse everyday functionality in all levels of the product ecosystem. CLAIRE brings automation to the Intelligent Cloud Services platform via suggestions of how mappings can be done, suggestions for what quality rules should be applied, and suggestions for what data users should be looking at. By understanding usage patterns, CLAIRE can suggest similar integration or transformation logic in an automated runtime environment, thus abstracting users from many of the complex decisions that must be made in a hybrid, multicloud integration environment.
With Informatica's rich base of shared metadata, the value of CLAIRE is set to grow over time, driving value for the enterprise as it strives to integrate volumes of data that could not realistically be sifted manually. IICS with CLAIRE could very well prove to be Informatica's "secret sauce" for iPaaS, helping users integrate data, via agile microservices architecture, taking advantage of an AI-guided process that learns from existing enterprise metadata to better offer targeted suggestions for smart, effective integration.
2018 Trends to Watch: Integration, IT0022-001091 (October 2017)
"Informatica's rebranding pinpoints cloud and machine learning," IT0014-003289 (June 2017)
Paige Bartley, Senior Analyst, Data and Enterprise Intelligence