Firm Brokers MuleSoft’s Passage Into IBM i World
August 16, 2017 Alex Woodie
Open source is not the best model for everything in the computing world. But you’d be hard-pressed to find a better use for open source than data and application integration, which are notoriously messy, expensive, and brittle. Which is why, if you’re not familiar with MuleSoft, you likely will be in the future.
MuleSoft got its start over 10 years ago when Ross Mason decided to start developing an open integration platform. Mason thought: Why should developers toil to build custom-coded integrations over and over again when it could be built correctly one time and then shared with the world? Why do all that mule work yourself? And thus MuleSoft – both the project and the company – were born.
The project began with a Java-based open source messaging system that eventually developed into a full enterprise service bus (ESB) framework for integrating applications. As adoption of Mule ESB grew, the company generated revenues by selling maintenance and technical services, as per the classic commercial open source business model.
Mule ESB is still in development, but the company’s focus has gone decidedly up-stack to take advantage of cloud services. Today the company’s primary offering is an API service called the Anypoint Platform.
The Anypoint Platform is designed to “create an application network of apps, data and devices with API-led connectivity,” according to the company’s website. The service essentially allows users to build, publish, and manage APIs that connect disparate systems within their organization, enabling them to create a “network” of connected applications.
The company, which recently had a successful IPO, boasts that it sits “at the intersection of the biggest technology forces in the world – SaaS, IoT, microservices, and APIs – and we enable them to connect and work together.” Some of the biggest names in technology, including Salesforce, ServiceNow, and Splunk, are MuleSoft customers.
The IBM i platform is no stranger to the MuleSoft world, thanks to the fact that the integration software was written in Java, which runs on IBM i. Many IBM i shops have utilized the software as part of a larger application integration effort. But, as is often the case with high-flying open source projects, MuleSoft isn’t particularly tailored toward the IBM i way of doing things, so it’s nice to have a helping hand.
One of the firms that specializes in helping IBM i shops with their MuleSoft projects is InfoView Systems. The company has developed a MuleSoft Anypoint connector that’s specifically designed to function as a bridge between the MuleSoft world and the IBM i.
“Part of our strategy is to educate the IBM i community on the value of comprehensive integration platforms, like MuleSoft,” Mike O’Meara, vice president of operations for InfoView, recently told IT Jungle. “At the same time we can help MuleSoft customers who have IBM i components in their application landscape . . . realize full benefit of the platform.”
InfoView, which recently signed a deal to distribute TEMBO’s database modernization software, develops and sells two products to help IBM i shops make their way in the MuleSoft world. Infoview’s AS/400 Connector, as the product is called, makes it relatively easy for IBM i developers to build Mule APIs that communicate with IBM i applications via data queues, which the company says provides a “low code” solution.
The second product is the IBM i Web Transaction Framework, which functions as a native gateway to accelerate development and streamline operations when IBM i applications are being exposed via APIs with MuleSoft Anypoint. The framework “automates all communications between Anypoint and the IBM i via data queues, and provides a unified approach for data exchange, auditing, exception handling and interface health monitoring,” the company says on its website.
IBM i shops are usually slow to adapt to technological changes, but MuleSoft can provide capabilities that help accelerate other projects for IBM i shops, Infoview says. “The unique value proposition of MuleSoft is it supports hybrid-cloud and on-premise,” O’Meara says. “It’s almost like a low-code integration platform, coupled with comprehensive API management.”
Infoview is getting traction with both the AS/400 Connector and the IBM i Web Transaction Framework because they can accelerate the completion of application integration projects, O’Meara says.
“We’re the only partner that speaks both IBM i and MuleSoft,” he says. “We’re the same person, the same team. That makes it really efficient.”