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Informatica modernizes iPaaS platform using microservices and AI

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At its online Informatica World event today, Informatica announced a cloud platform that employs microservices and an AI engine to combine data management capabilities within a service that enables data and application programming interface (API) integration.

The Informatica Intelligent Data Management Cloud (IDMC) is a revamped implementation of an Informatica platform that makes more extensive use of a previously launched AI engine dubbed CLAIRE to analyze the metadata generated by each integration, said chief product officer Jitesh Ghai.

In effect, IDMC creates a graph that makes it possible to track the relationship between various integrations for both optimization and compliance purposes. “It’s a system of record for metadata,” Ghai said.

That’s critical because it enables the Informatica integration platform-as-a-service (iPaaS) environment to function as a single source of truth for all integrations on an end-to-end basis, Ghai added. In all, there are now also more than 200 discrete services provided by IDMC that have been augmented using the CLAIRE AI engine, Ghai noted.

At the same time, Informatica is launching and updating a series of services it makes available on various public clouds. In addition to making IDMC available on the Microsoft Azure cloud, Informatica is adding an Informatica Cloud Data Governance & Catalog offering for the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud. Available in preview, that offering promises to make it easier to apply data governance policies to the massive amounts of data accumulating in AWS environments, Ghai noted.

Finally, Informatica announced that its Cloud Data Integration Elastic (CDI-E) service for processing massive amounts of data at scale is now generally available on Google Cloud, along with a tool for managing APIs and an enhanced version of a visual tool dubbed Cloud Mass Ingestion that makes it easier to ingest data.

Flexible integration

Collectively, these capabilities are intended to address the need for a more flexible approach to integration at a time when organizations are increasingly launching complex digital business process initiatives spanning multiple applications and data sources, Ghai said.

Integrations today routinely involve gigabytes of data that need to be programmatically moved between platforms, Ghai added. That level of automation requires a platform on a microservices-based architecture that can easily scale up and down to meet those requirements, Ghai noted.

The CLAIRE AI engine, meanwhile, provides the algorithms required to ensure data quality is maintained across all those integrations, Ghai added.

Most legacy iPaaS platforms — like the applications they integrated — are based on monolithic architectures. Today, most new applications are being constructed using a more modular approach based on microservices that each have their own APIs. The Informatica IDMC makes it simpler for IT teams to construct and deploy microservices that can programmatically invoke a set of integration services to access data strewn across an extended enterprise. Theoretically, a legacy iPaaS environment could service those requests but not at the level of scale that might be required by thousands of microservices.

Enterprises face growing complexity

It’s still early days as far as the shift to microservices-based applications in the enterprise is concerned. The bulk of enterprise applications are still based on monolithic applications. But with each new application deployed, the number of microservices running in production environments steadily increases, along with the amount of data being consumed by those microservices. In addition, many monolithic applications will over time be refactored to run as a set of more modular microservices in an effort to make applications both easier to upgrade and more resilient. Rather than failing outright, a microservices-based application is designed to degrade gracefully by rerouting requests when a specific service is unavailable.

It may be a while before microservices proliferate across the enterprise, but it’s now more a question of if than when. That will inevitably make IT environments more complex, which Informatica is betting will result in a lot more reliance on an iPaaS service infused with AI.

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Categories
AI

Vfunction exits stealth to transform monolithic enterprise apps into cloud-native microservices

Vfunction, a Palo Alto-based startup that’s setting out to enable enterprises to automatically transform complex, monolithic applications to a cloud native microservices architecture, has emerged from stealth today and announced that it has raised $12.2 million in seed funding.

With every company now effectively a software company, businesses are seeking ways to build their applications with agility and ease-of-maintenance at their core. The transition from tightly woven, monolithic apps to microservices is already well underway; Uber kicked off a massive rewrite back in 2015, shifting to a service-oriented architecture (SOA) to “break up the monolith into multiple codebases,” as the company noted at the time. And Netflix, too, has long touted its decision to switch from its own private datacenters to the public cloud and a microservices architecture as being a key component of its global success,.

Smaller, function-based components that connect together via APIs are easier to develop and maintain, with individual teams or developers taking responsibility for a single service. However, rewriting codebases for the microservices era can be a herculean undertaken, and this is where Vfunction is carving its niche.

Native state

Companies deploy Vfunction locally where their legacy applications exist, and the Vfunction Java virtual machine (JVM) agent sends the information to the Vfunction server. The architect accesses the Vfunction server through an interface, allowing them to design the microservices architecture they wish to adopt.

“Once satisfied with the design, the system generates a service specification file, which is a file that has all the information required to create the microservice,” Vfunction CEO and cofounder Moti Rafalin told VentureBeat. “That file is fed into the automation engine that scans the original code and copies the relevant artifacts to create the new service.”

Above: The Vfunction dashboard

According to Rafalin, the Vfunction platform leans on supervised learning techniques, graph theory, and clustering algorithms to identify dead code and code anomalies that could prevent a clean breakdown, or “decomposition,” of the application.

It’s worth noting that the (human) architect remains in control — the platform may recommend services to extract, but the architect can make modifications before proceeding or override it entirely. What Vfunction ultimately does is automate many of the steps involved in breaking down the monolith into microservices, accelerating things up to fifteen times faster, according to Rafalin.

“Depending on the specific application and the target architecture, it can vary between 80%-95% automation,” he said. “By design it requires input from the architects. No developer wants to maintain code generated by a machine, that’s why Vfunction puts the developer in the driver seat. The automation helps the developer decide which services to extract, but the developer is in control, deciding what each service contains. The microservice code is copied from the original monolith and not generated by a machine.”

Above: Vfunction CEO Moti Rafalin

The benefits of cloud computing are well understood, particularly for cash-strapped startups looking for easy access to reliable and affordable infrastructure. Companies with legacy applications already have several options when trying to tap those benefits, such as re-hosting which is a “lift-and-shift” migration that is relatively easy and offers minor cloud benefits, such as “anywhere access” for an application to a globally distributed team. Then there is replatforming, which requires tweaks to some of the application’s components, and which can bring some added cloud benefits such as scalability or security.

To fully realize the powers of cloud computing, however, requires more extensive action. And that is what Vfunction brings to the table.

“Unless one modernizes those monolithic applications to be cloud native, they end up requiring very large machines and often end up paying more to the cloud providers,” Rafalin said. “Organizations now understand that if they want the true benefits of the cloud, they need to modernize these apps, and this starts with adopting an architecture that includes microservices, APIs, and modern design principles.”

The story so far

Rafalin sold his previous startup, Watchdox, to BlackBerry in 2015 for a reported $100 million, and then founded Vfunction two years later alongside two former Watchdox colleagues. According to Rafalin, the big question it has faced over the past few years is whether it was possible to build the technology to achieve its goals.

“The Vfunction team, including our investors and founders, is somewhat special in its approach to building a company — it assumed a technology risk, as opposed to a market risk,” he said. “In our case, we knew there was a market for it, so we needed to build it. The question was, could it be built?.”

As a veteran team with a multi-million dollar enterprise exit to their names, Vfunction had little difficulty raising what can only be described as a substantial seed round of funding. The $12.2 million investment, which it actually raised back in 2017 shortly after it was founded, was co-led by Shasta Ventures and Zeev Ventures, with participation from Khosla Ventures and Engineering Capital, which also invested in an earlier pre-seed round of funding.

During its stealth phase, Vfunction claims to have secured “6 and 7 figure deals” with some of the world’s leading banks, though it was only at liberty to disclose Italy’s Intesa Sanpaolo as a paying customer.

“They [Intesa Sanpaolo] decided to embark on a modernization strategy several years ago and they had a very clear target where they wanted to get to — modern CI/CD, containers, and a specific cloud,” Rafalin added. “Vfunction was the missing technology they were looking for.”

Although it plans to support applications written in various languages, for its official launch today, Vfunction is focused squarely on Java, which it deems to be the biggest opportunity for now.

“The Vfunction platform can be applied to other languages and we plan to support other platforms down the road,” Rafalin said. “That said, there are 21 billion JVMs in the world. Every bank we talk to has hundreds to thousands of Java applications, and it’s the backbone of the Fortune 500. So from a focus and business perspective, we see the strongest need to support Java at this time.”

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Repost: Original Source and Author Link