Product of the month: MuleSoft solutions for Microsoft
Release date: July 23, 2014
What it does
MuleSoft solutions for Microsoft bring Microsoft.NET connectivity capabilities to cloud-enabled enterprises. An addition to MuleSoft's Anypoint Platform for SOA, SaaS integration and APIs, the tool set simplifies integrations between SaaS applications and Microsoft SharePoint, SQL Server, Microsoft Dynamics CRM and more. The MuleSoft Microsoft connections were needed to make the AnyPoint Platform a truly heterogeneous integration tool by taking it beyond its Java-centric focus, said Ken Yagen, MuleSoft vice president of products. The Anypoint Platform includes CloudHub iPaaS, Mule ESB and a unified solution for API management, design and publishing.
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To remain competitive today, businesses have to adopt SaaS applications, cloud services and/or API technologies and integrate them with legacy applications and platforms, according to R. "Ray" Wang, analyst at Constellation Research. "With half the market in Java and the other half in .NET, it'd be impossible not to have a request for .NET," he said.
MuleSoft's Microsoft connectivity tools are designed to leverage existing Microsoft IT investments and integration logic written in .NET on the Anypoint Platform, Yagen said. The solutions extend and reuse any .NET asset on a modern integration platform. The MuleSoft Connectors communicate with existing Microsoft queuing infrastructure. Another plus, said Yagen, is ease of integration with popular Microsoft endpoints, including SOAP/WS-*, ASP.NET Web APIs, SharePoint, SQL Server, Dynamics and Yammer.
Why it's cool
The MuleSoft .NET tools will make a now-challenging task -- integrating SaaS applications and existing enterprise systems -- easier, Yagen said. Automation and an easy-to-use interface should simplify integration in complex situations, such as when there's a mix of new APIs, existing systems developed in a custom language like .NET and a short time frame in which to deliver the project.
Wang observed that the solutions' heterogeneous connectivity can help businesses preserve their investments in legacy IT, break down organizational silos and unlock massive opportunities for bottom-line growth. He sees MuleSoft solutions for Microsoft fitting into use cases where organizations are using it to accelerate mergers and acquisitions, creating new dashboards from legacy applications, and opening new markets.
For developers, ease of use adds a cool factor. Based on well-known patterns, the .NET Connectors offer templates for Salesforce, Seibel and other systems, Yagen said. No new certifications or programming language skills are needed, as Anypoint Platform tools are designed to leverage existing skills and assets in new environments.
With MuleSoft solutions for Microsoft, less custom code must be written, thanks to reusable templates, prebuilt connectors and familiar messaging patterns. "When you do need to write code, you now have a platform that allows you to do that regardless of what language that's written in," Yagen said.
What users are saying
Citrix Systems integration development manager Vinod Sangaraju found the MuleSoft Anypoint Platform when searching for an iPaaS solution to connect Citrix solutions with Salesforce, Marketo, Workday, and other cloud and on-premises applications. His search was driven by Microsoft BizTalk's limited SaaS connectivity. His team had been filling that gap by using Microsoft BizTalk for on-premises integration scenarios and MuleSoft's Anypoint Platform, in particular CloudHub, for cloud-to-cloud and cloud-to-ground integration. That wasn't ideal, he said.
"As technologies are moving towards cloud-based solutions, there has been increased demand for iPaaS platforms to easily integrate with SaaS-based applications via connectors," Sangaraju said. In beta tests of the MuleSoft.NET and MSMQ Connectors, his team found the ease of use needed to fill BizTalk integration gaps.
Testing Anypoint Platform's .NET to Java interoperability, using the .NET Connector and MSMQ Connector, the Citrix team was able to more easily bridge legacy .NET assets to Mule ESB, part of the Anypoint platform. No recoding was required to connect the existing BizTalk Business Rules Engine to Mule ESB.
Overall, strong functionality and an easy learning curve for Citrix developers leads Sangaraju to predict a high ROI for MuleSoft solutions for Microsoft, specifically as future needs for additional SaaS connectivity and end-to-end API management increase
Sangaraju is already looking to MuleSoft's promised enhancements of the .NET Connector, such as making it work on CloudHub shortly and tools to help migrate additional workloads.
Cost depends on number of cores (on-premises) or workers (cloud), subscription tier, and specific project requirements. Monthly subscriptions start at $1,200 for cloud.
About the author:
Jan Stafford plans and oversees strategy and operations for TechTarget's Application Development Media Group. She has covered the computer industry for the last 20-plus years, writing about everything from personal computers to operating systems to server virtualization to application development.