In the integration platform as a service (iPaaS) space, Microsoft Azure and Boomi are two of the top considerations for customers looking for the best integration solution. As a systems integrator with deep knowledge of both systems, we take a dive into the features, pros, and cons of both, so your business can decide which one to use.
Key iPaaS requirements
Before you can evaluate an iPaaS, you need to define your integration requirements. These are some of the questions you might ask:
- How many on-premise or cloud applications do you need to integrate?
- Do you need to integrate with customers or business partners?
- Are there any special security or compliance concerns to address?
- Do you need real-time or batch data integration?
- What in-house developer resources do you have for building integrations?
- Should the platform allow on-premises deployment as well as cloud?
- Will you need to build any custom application connectors?
Comparing the top iPaaS vendors: Boomi and Azure
Microsoft Azure iPaaS features
Azure iPaaS components
Azure Integration Services is a set of application integration services within the wider Microsoft Azure offering. Hosted purely in the cloud, Azure iPaaS consists of four core elements:
- Logic Apps: creates workflows and business processes between services in the cloud and on-premises
- Service Bus: connects on-premises and cloud-based apps and services for secure messaging workflows
- API Management: publishes APIs securely for internal and external developers to use when connecting to back-end systems
- Event Grid: connects Azure and third-party services with a managed event-routing service, for event-based app development
These four are not packaged together, giving you the freedom to pick the components required for your particular use cases.
You can use Azure to connect virtually any cloud or on-premises applications, Microsoft or not. But naturally, Microsoft has made it easy to connect Azure iPaaS to other services within the Microsoft Azure platform. And organisations with a strong technical investment in Microsoft software often prefer the relative familiarity of Azure.
Over 300 Azure connectors
Azure Logic Apps connectors are available for Microsoft software such as Power BI, Outlook, SharePoint, and SQL Server, as well as for Salesforce, SAP, IBM, and Oracle.
You can also benefit from connectors for industry-standard business-to-business (B2B) formats such as XML, EDIFACT, and AS2. The FTP and File System connectors provide access to files and folders online and on-premises. When connecting less common applications, you have the ability to create custom connectors within Azure.
Azure data integration services
While the core services above only deal with application integration, Azure also provides data integration capabilities. This is required if your application needs to store unstructured data, for example, or include custom code for specialised data transformations.
To achieve these, you simply connect the Azure iPaaS to a service such as Azure Data Lake Store or Azure Functions. To work with unstructured big data in a traditional extract, transform, load (ETL) process, you should use Azure Data Factory.
Business benefits of Azure iPaaS
Below are a few of the benefits our clients have seen from Azure-based integration solutions.
- Consumption-based pricing: With Azure, you pay for only what you use. If you have an Office 365 connector that’s triggered when a file is modified, for example, you only pay for when that trigger occurs. This makes it easy to start with a small budget and ramp up as your business needs expand.
- Test for free: Because you only pay for live consumption, your developers can build and test integrations in Azure without paying a penny.
- Little coding required: Azure services are low-code, meaning you create integrations with a drag-and-drop interface. This speeds up development and mitigates the need for lengthy testing.
- Maintenance included: Microsoft takes care of all the computing infrastructure, such as scalability and virtual machines. It would be much more expensive to retain your own IT maintenance team.
- Professional security: Microsoft has a team of 3,500 cyber security experts protecting Azure from global threats, so your integrations are in safe hands.
- Environmental transparency: Those with environmental targets can use Microsoft Sustainability Calculator to calculate the impact of Azure services.
Real-life use cases for Azure integration
Given the over 300 connectors available, virtually any integration is achievable with Azure iPaaS. Our digital integration team has used Azure to connect systems such as SAP, Excel, Power BI, SQL Server, and Oracle HCM Cloud. A few of the business solutions we’ve achieved with Azure include:
- providing field workers with up-to-date stock inventory information
- enabling customers around the world to track their orders online
- unifying disparate HR, payroll, and pensions data into a single HR platform
- automating the transfer of warranty claims data into a central ERP
For a detailed understanding of what we can achieve with Azure integration, read our Tullis Russell Azure integration case study.
Boomi iPaaS features
Boomi is one of the most highly-popular iPaaS, having been a leader in Gartner’s Enterprise iPaaS Magic Quadrant for many years. Boomi is an all-in-one integration platform consisting of five capabilities:
- integrating applications and data across the cloud and on-premises
- synchronising and enriching trusted data with master data management
- designing, securing, and scaling APIs with API management
- providing secure integration with partners through B2B/EDI management
- automating workflows and developing applications with low-code tools
Your level of access to these components depends on your chosen Boomi edition (Professional, Professional Plus, Enterprise, or Enterprise Plus).
Pre-made Boomi connectors
Boomi offers two types of connector: application connectors, which connect to specific software, and technology connectors, which use standard data formats and drivers.
All in all, there are over 100 standard application connectors for Microsoft, SAP, Amazon, Oracle, Google, Salesforce, Workday, Sage, Jira, Quickbooks, and more. Combined with the technology connectors, it’s possible to connect almost any cloud or on-premises data and applications with Boomi.
Business benefits of Boomi platform
Below are a few reasons why Boomi is the platform of choice for many of our clients.
- High customer satisfaction: Boomi has long been considered an iPaaS leader, and has a customer renewal rate of 97 percent.
- Established community: With over 10,000 customers globally, Boomi’s platform provides intelligent recommendations crowd-sourced from its large development community.
- Connection-based pricing: You only pay for the initial licence and the number of unique connections deployed. There is no additional charge for the number of application or technology connectors used in each connection.
- Flexible billing: Boomi users can choose between monthly or annual billing, to suit their financial preferences.
- Low-code development: An intuitive interface, with pre-made templates for the most common scenarios, allows you to create integrations in a fraction of the usual time.
- Frequent updates: Boomi updates its iPaaS with the latest features on a monthly basis, freeing up your IT team to focus on delivery.
Real-life use cases for Boomi integration
Boomi’s connectors provide near-total flexibility for application and data integration. On top of the branded connectors, Boomi successfully connects to hundreds more applications via its standards-based technology connectors.
In our position as a Boomi Advanced Partner, we have achieved the following solutions with Boomi:
- eliminating manual data entry between sales, finance, and education software
- connecting a global payment platform with legacy databases through API-led connectivity
- integrating 22 disparate applications and databases for a national delivery company
- enabling targeted marketing by linking a travel booking system to a marketing platform
To learn more about what Boomi can achieve, take a look at our Boomi case study.