Dell Boomi, the SaaS arm of the now-private Dell Inc., has unveiled a swath of new features for the AtomSphere iPaaS (Integration Platform as a Service) product, to ease in the initial deployment and proper functioning of customer integrations, and for relaying data through mobile platforms.
Resolve: A new type of knowledge base
The biggest advancement in today's announcement is the introduction of Boomi Resolve, which scans the current configuration, identifies potential problems, and automatically lists possible solutions, including links to full articles regarding the quoted issues, in order to quickly diagnose problems that builders face in deployment. The knowledgebase is populated through scanning the error messages and linking those with the most commonly applied solution. According to Dell Boomi, the 100 most common errors account for 80% of all error messages, with the top 10 errors comprising 50% of all error messages.
With recent developments in information security being at the forefront of technology news, the proposition of having client data mined for support purposes that would be shared with third parties is one that, for good reason, should give pause to IT decision makers. I posed this concern to Michael Morton, the CTO of Dell Boomi, who indicated there is no content data in the error messages — as such, sensitive client information is not at risk. Additionally, in testing, clients have requested the ability to have their own Resolve repository that can include content data internal to the company, but this is not yet supported.
Predictive Assistance, or, an intelligent solution to a longstanding issue
Predictive Assistance, a utility internal to the support staff of Dell Boomi, proactively notifies the support staff of unresolved errors or inefficient workflow design that may be impeding integration performance. The predictive assistance monitor, according to Dell, operates in "near real-time." Importantly, this utility requires human intervention to operate — it is not analogous to Clippy, the oft-maligned assistant from older versions of Microsoft Office. This is only an internal tool that is used by the support staff, not a simple script that gives unwarranted advice with cartoon office supplies.
The user-visible counterpoint to this is the SOA Dashboard, which provides a simple view of the performance of critical, latency-sensitive integrations. This is a custom view that builders can refer to if something seems amiss to find and diagnose the problem, not an intrusive script that forces builders to work around the integration manager, instead of with the integration manager.
Increased connectivity with JSON and XML
Dell Boomi has also added support for and conversion between XML and JSON, a greatly needed feature for developing web and mobile applications. Compared to the other announcements, this is not itself particularly groundbreaking, but appreciably simplifies the process of building an integration when working with web and mobile platforms. Previously, according to Morton, many clients were using a third-party solution at a greatly added cost to perform this function that is now featured as part of the toolset of Boomi AtomSphere.
A focus on reliability and the cost of doing business
Reassuringly, the staff at Dell Boomi appear to understand the critical nature of uptime in cloud services, indicating that "customers are going to expect the cloud to perform as well as their on-premise services." With a service such as AtomShpere, which itself links to other cloud vendors, being the weak link in the chain is not an acceptable circumstance. Dell Boomi is particularly transparent about its performance, as outage events and extensive details are available on its website.
Of note, with recent intense price competition among cloud providers caused by Google's wholesale slashing of prices, Dell Boomi is not quite a party to such activity. Unlike the pricing model of many other organizations, billing is determined by the number of connections instead of compute time, storage, or network activity.
Tell us what you think
Does your business use Dell Boomi AtomSphere for joining traditional desktop software with cloud services? Will you be taking advantage of these new features? Does Dell's position as an OEM, and its product offerings in that sector influence your willingness to trust the company with mission-critical cloud services? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
- Dell Boomi sees strong growth, aims to improve integration errors (ZDNet, a TechRepublic sister site)
James Sanders is a Tokyo-based programmer and technology journalist. Since 2013, he has been a regular contributor to TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research.