Spaghetti is delicious when it’s on your dinner plate, but it can give you indigestion when it’s an enterprise integration pattern. When developers and IT teams are tasked with building integrations, creating too many point-to-point integrations can create an ugly mess that’s brittle, expensive to maintain, and difficult to modify or adapt. This has negative effects on enterprise agility and efficiency.
James Donelan, our VP of engineering, has an article in Techbeacon this week in which he outlines the risks of messy point-to-point enterprise integrations. He says, “what starts out as a simple integration quickly expands into a series of hacks and one-offs, accompanied by growing endpoints and increasingly more complex data transformation and integration logic. The problem, then, becomes the massive investment in developers, time, and money that’s needed to maintain these custom code solutions.”
He gives the example of a system developed for the U.S. Air Force that was estimated to cost $88.5 million to develop. Dubbed the Expeditionary Combat Support System (ECSS), the project racked up $1.03 billion in costs in seven short years and did not yield “significant military capability,” according to an Air Force spokesperson. The ECSS was supposed to integrate and replace more than 200 legacy systems but was eventually disbanded after the team realized they were creating an overwhelming amount of additional custom coding and integration work.
A better option, says James, is a connectivity layer that allows the business to simply plug in legacy and new applications to the integrated systems as required, and removes developers’ time and resources from maintaining complex enterprise integrations to creating new products and services for the business. The API-led approach to connectivity leads to faster delivery of new services and greater business agility.
“At the end of the day,” James says, “businesses shouldn’t waste valuable developer hours on grunt work that’s difficult to maintain and often someone else’s mess to untangle. The real crème de la crème for developers lies in building innovative products and services that bring overall value to a business and occasionally transform an industry.”