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ESB, Enterprise Service Bus or iPaaS, Integration Platform-as-a-Service - What is the difference?

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iPaaS and Enterprise Service Bus have the same core task: the integration of applications in a company. The biggest difference lies in the complexity of the integration as well as the scalability and which systems can be easily connected. While iPaas provides integration tools via the cloud and doesn't necessarily depend on hardware and software in one's own data centre, the ESB is mainly known from the "on-premises" application case in one's own data centre. In this case, the ESB and iPaas usually focus on different integration scenarios. The ESB plays more of a coordinating role in the consolidation and provision of data within a company. In addition, the ESB is an essential component of service-oriented architecture (SOA), which became popular in the corporate world in the 1990s, but isn't well suited for web and cloud applications. 

Unlike classic approaches such as enterprise service bus or service-oriented architectures, the iPaas approach focuses more on the new lightweight integration paradigms such as REST and JSON for cloud-native applications. Specifically, iPaaS enables cloud applications to connect consistently, clearly and seamlessly with other cloud applications and, of course, with on-premise or legacy applications (older, large applications).The iPaaS approach is part of the new web-oriented architecture (WOA) that is replacing the old service-oriented architecture (SOA) in the cloud era. 

An iPaaS platform would thus be a perfect extension to an already existing enterprise service bus or could even replace it. It is important to note that the iPaaS solution also supports multi-cloud strategies. The issue of data security is usually less critical with iPaaS, as the integration itself does not have any data storage and, for example, in hybrid integration approaches, the companies usually operate the applications "on premise" and the data storage also takes place here. As a rule, iPaaS providers currently offer concepts that also meet the highest requirements for data security and data storage in the company. Particularly in the German SME sector, which is known for its critical attitude, and within the EU, clear concepts for data storage have become indispensable. 

With iPaaS, applications and data from cloud and on-premises environments can be connected. A major advantage of iPaaS applications over older ESB approaches that should not be underestimated is the possibility of accessing qualified help from the respective providers and/or a broad network of external IT professionals in case of a lack of internal resources for specific integration requirements, whereby the time required for the implementation of iPaaS integrations is usually significantly less than for ESB integrations. iPaaS also enables data transfer in real time, whereas ESB normally only enables real-time data transfer from cloud applications and systems to a very limited extent or not at all. 

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