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On the Radar: SnapLogic

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SnapLogic is a US-based, venture-funded software company that is attempting to reinvent integration platform technology - by creating one unified platform that can address many different kinds of application and data integration use cases.

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On the Radar: SnapLogic

  1. 1. MWD Advisors is a specialist advisory firm which provides practical, independent industry insights to business leaders and technology professionals working to drive change with the help of digital technology. Our approach combines flexible, pragmatic mentoring and advisory services, built on a deep industry best practice and technology research foundation. © MWD Advisors 2016 www.mwdadvisors.com Premium report Neil Ward-Dutton Technology & Suppliers On the Radar: SnapLogic February 2016 SnapLogic is a US-based, venture-funded software company that is attempting to reinvent integration platform technology – by creating one unified platform that can address many different kinds of application and data integration use cases.
  2. 2. On the Radar: SnapLogic 2 © MWD Advisors 2016 www.mwdadvisors.com Who? SnapLogic (www.snaplogic.com) is a specialist software vendor focused on what it calls ‘hybrid integration’ – automating multiple kinds of integration data flows and transformations with their own specialised operational needs, all from one shared technology platform. SnapLogic was founded in 2006 by Ghaurav Dhillon, former co-founder of Informatica and is venture funded. The company’s based in San Mateo CA, and also has offices in Boulder, Boston and New York; in Hyderabad, India; and in Australia. What does it do? SnapLogic’s core offering is its Elastic Integration Platform, which – unusually – can address the requirements of both real-time (traditionally addressed with ESB technology), and batch-oriented (traditionally addressed with ETL technology) data integration scenarios. The platform has three core elements: ! The SnapLogic Integration Cloud. This multi-tenant, AWS-hosted platform delivers SnapLogic’s suite of HTML5-based tools for deploying, managing and monitoring integration logic: o Designer – a graphical, drag-and-drop specification tool, aimed at integration developers, for assembling and configuring data processing ‘pipelines’ (see figure 1 for an example) that take data from one or more sources and process it to create one or more result sets. Depending on the specific configuration of the platform you’re working with (see below), you have a particular palette of functions available from which to construct pipelines. o Manager – an administration tool for configuring access to the Integration Cloud, configure project settings and set up security schemes. o Dashboard – a graphical tool that lets administrators track the health of running pipelines, regardless of their deployment location, and audit historical execution too. ! The Snaplex – an elastic (horizontally scalable) fabric of server nodes (Java virtual machines) that execute your integration pipelines. Customers can deploy multiple Snaplexes and associate them with one Integration Cloud instance: so with one management account and one central set of tools, you can specify and control integration pipelines across multiple scenarios and use cases. ! A growing library of ‘Snaps’ – off-the-shelf, configurable adapters that abstract away the detailed implementation details of connecting to, and making sense of, the integration APIs and data structures used by popular business applications and popular analytics tools. Customers can also build their own. SnapLogic has designed the Snaplex execution environment to be flexibly deployed across a variety of contexts. There are currently four specific configurations of the Snaplex environment, each aligned to a particular use case for the Elastic Integration Platform, and all based on the same core execution server: • Cloudplex – a deployment of a Snaplex fabric that runs on Amazon’s AWS cloud infrastructure, and which is primarily suited to scenarios where the main requirement is to integrate multiple cloud-based applications and data sources. • Groundplex – a deployment of a Snaplex fabric that runs in your own data centre, aimed at organisations wanting principally to integrate on-premises applications and data sources. • Hadooplex – a deployment of a Snaplex fabric that runs as a YARN1 -managed application within a Hadoop cluster. The Hadooplex supports both MapReduce and Spark data pipelines. 1 YARN is a cluster resource management technology, delivered as part of the Apache Hadoop 2 project. YARN enables Hadoop clusters to execute more varied workloads and support interactive and stream-based processing, as well as the ‘traditional’ batch-oriented processing that Hadoop was originally designed for.
  3. 3. On the Radar: SnapLogic 3 © MWD Advisors 2016 www.mwdadvisors.com • Azureplex – following a 2015 investment by Microsoft, there’s also now the option to deploy a Snaplex to Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform. Figure 1 An example SnapLogic pipeline in the Designer Source: SnapLogic Who is it for? The SnapLogic Elastic Integration Platform is designed for any organisation wrestling with the burden of a variety of specialised integration platforms and with a desire to simplify their integration technology landscape. SnapLogic focuses particularly on organisations wrestling with implementation of cloud-based systems and applications; and those with active Big Data implementation initiatives. SnapLogic is available with an annual subscription, and the base platform is offered at a fixed price, regardless of usage levels: starting at $10k per month. Additional execution nodes and Snaps are available at extra cost. Why is it interesting? Organisations – particularly large organisations with long heritages and complicated IT landscapes – find themselves in a position where they have very significant investments in collections of specialised integration technologies that are increasingly difficult to control. Some of these technologies were bought when the principal concern being addressed was how to create and manage data warehouses. Others were bought when the principal concern was how to synchronise key data between individual enterprise applications. Yet others were bought when there may have been a high-priority strategy to create master customer or product data; and so on. As organisations shift more investment (whether planned or not) to cloud-based platforms and applications, and as big data technologies become better-understood, many organisations are struggling to make the case for yet more specialised investments. At the same time, market expectations regarding ease-of-use and time- to-deploy are transferring from broad consumer-focused online services to more and more areas of enterprise technology, and the integration domain is no exception.
  4. 4. On the Radar: SnapLogic 4 © MWD Advisors 2016 www.mwdadvisors.com Against this backdrop, SnapLogic’s Elastic Integration Platform is particularly interesting for three specific reasons: ! Uncommon deployment flexibility. The Snaplex runtime environment can be employed in AWS or Azure clouds; in your own datacenter as a standalone environment; or integrated with Apache Hadoop or Spark clusters. One controlling Integration Cloud instance can be used to control multiple Snaplexes, all at once. ! A unified approach across multiple integration scenario types. Whether you’re specifying pipelines for high-speed, real-time stream processing, interactive record-by-record data synchronisation between applications or batch-mode bulk processing, the tools, the platform and the design approach are all the same. ! Scalability and adaptability. The Snaplex runtime architecture scales automatically (up and down) in response to demand; and Snaps employed in pipelines can be transparently updated in-place without any platform recompilation, redeployment or server stop-start cycling. How established is it? On its founding in 2006, SnapLogic initially focused on building an open-source data integration framework, targeted principally at providing data integration services to application developers and development tools. In 2012 the company raised a third round of funding and refocused, developing the commercial offering that would become the Elastic Integration Platform. With a fifth round in late 2015 totaling $37.5m, SnapLogic has now taken over $90m in venture funding. The company’s customers include Adobe, Acxiom, AstraZeneca, Blackberry, CapitalOne, Danone, Earth Networks, Fox Sports, GameStop, GE, Gensler, IDG, iRobot, RocketFuel, Target, Uber, Verizon, Xactly, and Yelp. SnapLogic’s Chairman and CEO, Ghaurav Dhillon, was co-founder and CEO of the data integration specialist Informatica Corp. Dhillon made an early investment in the company, and joined full-time in 2009. The company’s head of Worldwide Field Operations (including sales and service delivery) is a 16-year veteran of CA Technologies; the CFO held long tenure at both NetApp and SunMicrosystems. How open is it? As you would hope is the case with an integration platform, the SnapLogic Elastic Integration Platform is designed with openness in mind. Although the company’s initial open-source work is no longer actively developed or supported, the principle of openness is still very much at the heart of the SnapLogic proposition. At a foundational level, the internal data representation used by the Elastic Integration Platform is JSON (the open JavaScript Object Notation standard). Furthermore every deployed SnapLogic pipeline can easily be made available for external invocation using the platform’s open REST API. When it comes to out-of-the-box support for application and data source connectivity, there are already over 350 Snaps available from SnapLogic, and more are being built by SnapLogic and its partners every quarter. If your required endpoint isn’t already supported, SnapLogic allows you to build your own with a well- documented API and a Java SDK. Although AWS is the default option for cloud deployment with SnapLogic, and that’s where the Integration Cloud tools are hosted, SnapLogic also supports Microsoft Azure as an execution platform. The SnapLogic Elastic Integration Platform has been certified for Cloudera CDH5 and Hortonworks HDP2.3.
  5. 5. On the Radar: SnapLogic 5 © MWD Advisors 2016 www.mwdadvisors.com Who does it partner with? SnapLogic manages partnerships with a number of well-established international systems integrators (including Accenture, Cognizant, HCL, PwC and TCS); and also manages a number of key technology partnerships (including with Amazon, Cloudera, Google, Hortonworks, Microsoft, Salesforce, ServiceNow and Workday). Are there areas for improvement? SnapLogic’s technology has a number of real strengths and some strong differentiation points, and the company has an experienced leadership team. However there is still room for improvement, of course: the company could provide much deeper change management functionality in the platform, for example, making it easier for teams working with many pipelines, reused components and deployed Snaplexes to stay on top of asset versions and configurations. Tools to assist with integration testing would also be welcome. What’s next? From a product development standpoint, SnapLogic’s main priority is to expand on its capabilities in support of the creation of ‘enterprise data lakes’; secondarily, it’s committed to continuing to develop Snaps in line with market trends and demand. From a business development perspective, SnapLogic’s main priority is to increase its presence and capability to support clients in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region (particularly Australia and New Zealand). Should I consider it? If you’re considering ways to make your integration technology landscape simpler, and you’re prepared to embrace cloud-based integration design and management tools, then you should definitely explore SnapLogic’s potential.