What about Boomi, Apigee, Informatica, and…? MuleSoft vs The Competition’s Partial Solutions to the Integration Puzzle

Aaron Godby, CEO & Founder

Jigsaw puzzle sales soared when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Puzzles allow families, with plenty of time on their hands, to unwind and collaborate on the solution to a common challenge. Puzzle manufacturers work hard to ensure there are no missing pieces in a box, but when mistakes are made, it’s disappointing to have invested so much time in a solution only to find out that the solution was not available because pieces were missing.

This analogy is very relevant to the integration challenges faced by today’s IT executives. Many have a plethora of integration software either already purchased or currently being evaluated as possible solutions to challenges; however, it’s typically very unclear how each piece fits together into a cohesive whole. It’s equally unclear as to whether or not every piece of the puzzle is included in the “box” or whether they’ll finish the puzzle and have missing pieces that prevent them from fully addressing their integration challenges. 

In our whitepaper, “Adapt vs. Adopt: The Value of MuleSoft Anypoint Platform”, we discuss how MuleSoft allows companies to design and roll out comprehensive API-led integration strategies that reduce go-live timelines, increase developer efficiency and asset reuse, remove common roadblocks that gate digital transformation initiatives, and ultimately drive a better integration strategy that leads to an overall lower total cost of ownership. 

A common question we’ve received in response to this whitepaper goes something like this:

“Well I’m already using Boomi for integration. Why can’t I just do this with Boomi?”

The answer is simple: Boomi only solves a small piece of the puzzle.

Partial Solutions are Partial Homegrown

We don’t mean to pick on Dell Boomi in particular. You can substitute many alternatives: 

  • Apigee
  • Informatica
  • IBM API Connect
  • Azure API Management
  • SnapLogic
  • And many other integration and API solutions 

With any of those products, you’ll still come up with the same answer: these solutions are only solving a small piece of the puzzle. The rest of the puzzle still needs to be solved. Solving it involves pulling in more partial solutions and integrating them together (using custom code) or creating homegrown solutions to implement the missing features (also using custom code).

Categories of Partial Solutions

These partial solutions typically fall into three discrete categories:

  • Tactical integrators: short-term tactical approach to connect two systems together
  • API Specialists: policy and routing but not much else
  • Legacy integration platforms: heavyweight solutions of yesteryear that were created to address yesterday’s integration problems

Tactical integrators provide a toolset that allows for accelerated development and fuel a short-term tactical mindset for integration needs. These technologies rely on prebuilt connectors into data sources and some level of drag-and-drop tooling to accelerate point-to-point development patterns.

While these patterns may lead to short-term gains in delivery speed because of accelerated development, in the long term your integration strategy will suffer the same pitfalls as point-to-point: Ross Mason’s big ball of mud. This situation is outside of the scope of this blog entry and a wealth of information can be found in “Adapt vs. Adopt: The Value of MuleSoft Anypoint Platform” whitepaper. Common examples here include Boomi, SnapLogic, and Jitterbit.

API specialists provide gateway and proxy use cases that facilitate control and governance over APIs once they are deployed. While these platforms do a great job of handling API gateway scenarios around governance, policy enforcement, and routing, they do not handle anything else involved in executing a robust API-led strategy; connectivity, orchestration, and payload transformation are fully reliant on custom coding of API implementations. See pages 11 and 12 in our whitepaper for the comprehensive list of necessary functionality that’s missing from platforms that focus merely on the API gateway aspect of API-led connectivity. Common examples of this type of solution include Apigee, CA API Gateway (formerly Layer7), and Tibco Mashery. 

Legacy Integration Platforms are very heavyweight solutions that involve proprietary products that need to be integrated together to work effectively. These solutions are very complex, requiring a great deal of both setup and maintenance costs in addition to high infrastructure costs. Given that they are legacy in nature, many either do not support modern APIs or have bolt-on API functionality that was built on top of technology that was not intended to address modern connectivity challenges. These platforms all suffer from an “integrating your integration platforms together” type of mindset and don’t provide everything that is needed to roll out an API-led integration strategy.

MuleSoft Anypoint Platform: The Entire Puzzle In One Box

Using any of the partial solutions mentioned above, your development team is responsible for determining the size and shape of the missing puzzle pieces and for constructing them from scratch to address the gaps in your puzzle. And unlike the family at the beginning of our story with time to burn and a jigsaw puzzle to solve as a family-bonding activity, IT executives don’t have time to burn and integration is not a recreational activity. They need real solutions to quickly address their integration challenges and remove roadblocks to transformation efforts.

The true value of MuleSoft Anypoint Platform is that it provides an organization with everything required to be successful in executing a modern API-led integration strategy. Instead of reinventing the wheel, MuleSoft customers enjoy the ability to apply nearly 100% of their focus to what matters: business scenarios. For more in-depth information on how MuleSoft Anypoint Platform provides everything needed to tackle modern integration challenges and pave the way for lower overall TCO, check out “Adapt vs. Adopt: The Value of MuleSoft Anypoint Platform” whitepaper and let us know what you think.