2020 was a whirlwind of change for companies due to COVID-19, but many kept pushing their digital transformation projects forward. Some people I talk to are interested in file transfer integration to increase productivity and simplify their IT ecosystems. Others are migrating to cloud-based integration platforms as a service (iPaaS) that provide seamless integration between disparate cloud and on-premises systems.
An iPaaS can do a lot for your organization, but it can’t handle all your file transfer needs. Before I explain why you should consider using a managed file transfer (MFT) solution and an iPaaS, I’ll define both terms.
What is an Integration Platform as a Service?
An integration platform as a service (iPaaS) is “a cloud service that allows software developers to automate how on-premises and cloud-based applications share data,” according to Techopedia. An integration platform gives developers pre-built connectors and business rules that make it easier for them to build workflows.
You’d use an iPaaS to:
- Change how data is organized
- Change file types
- Read or write data
What is Managed File Transfer (MFT)?
Managed file transfer (MFT) is a technology that secures and simplifies the process of exchanging files internally or externally. It does this with a no-code interface in which IT and non-IT employees can create file transfer workflows, onboard partners and troubleshoot.
Thru, our managed file transfer software, can integrate with an iPaaS to provide four essential capabilities: persistency, large payload capability, any-to-any capability and guaranteed delivery.
Integration platforms use messages, or small files, to connect applications. The iPaaS needs a lot of processing power because these files are sent hundreds or thousands of times a minute.
Because of this demand, most integration platforms are built with no or limited persistence, meaning that they can’t store files until delivery. They’re designed for real-time APIs and can handle around 10,000 API calls per minute.
In contrast, Thru can store files until delivery with zero data loss because it doesn’t handle thousands of processes at once. Retention policies can be defined so that files are deleted after a certain time period.
Large Payload Capability
An iPaaS can only take small to medium file transfer payloads because it’s designed for fast execution and deals with a lot of demand at once. Thru can handle unlimited payloads and any file format.
Typically, an integration platform has mostly point-to-point connections for file transfers. It can’t be a server and manages servers individually. Because of these limitations, developers need to code point-to-point connections between organizations for file transfer.
Developers can create more loosely coupled workflows with Thru because it has any-to-any capability. Thru can also act as a client or as a server for more flexibility.
As mentioned above, integration platforms deal primarily with messages, which are sent quickly and often. To add guaranteed delivery to file transfer workflows, developers have to hand-code and add it to each workflow.
Thru has guaranteed delivery built-in. IT teams can easily check file activity, file delivery status and other information.
To learn more about the relationship between integration platforms and MFT, read Managed File Transfer (MFT) and EiPaaS: A Complete Solution.
[Note: This blog was originally posted on June 5, 2020, and was recently updated.]