Integration entrepreneur: Now's the time for semantic technology

Sanjiva Nath, CEO of ALM innovator zAgile, explains why the Semantic Web is finally getting traction in the cloud era -- and the role he hopes his company will play

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The second aspect of the cloud is that now your applications are using different services all over the place. Your application environment just became incredibly distributed. So the integration challenges are huge. Even point-to-point integration will fail completely. Cloud architecture more or less mandates that your data is in one place, your applications are in another place, and your applications can live and die or be up and down depending on the hour or the day of the week. There are a whole lot of dynamic configuration issues associated with that.

Knorr: And continuous revisions, right?

Nath: Exactly. And that will make the point-to-point connections much more difficult to do. That's where semantic schema start to play a bigger role -- both at the deployment level and at the level of these cloud-based apps. That's where the challenge lies.

Knorr: You've focused on ALM. Where you see the technology going next?

Nath: Do you mean zAgile or the general integration technology?

Knorr: Both. You identified ALM as a great opportunity for you and maybe there are other opportunities for zAgile as well. But you can also talk just about the technology, because basically what you're telling me is you're one of few companies that's really demonstrating a tangible value to Semantic Web technology in an enterprise context.

Nath: We see two or three concrete areas that we want to target. One is what I talked about in terms of devops -- to provide better support for automation, but also to provide configuration management, traceability, and monitoring across different configurations in the cloud. If you look at even monitoring, for instance, which is fairly simple, each cloud provider offers their own monitoring tools, which are very specific to what they do. But what happens when you distribute it all out there across multiple providers? How do you go and try to get some sort of unified view, not only of what's out there, but how it's running, when it was deployed, who did what with it, or what the reason was for having it out there in the first place?

Knorr: I can see what you're saying. There are a huge number of cloud players providing services and platforms and there are only going to be more.

Nath: Exactly. So we see a big opportunity there. And the second part of it is cloud-based integration of hosted applications. That's the other wave: You have Zendesk and Salesforce and Jive and all these others. So how do you pull information from all these different applications together to provide a unified context, because each one is a best-of-breed app serving a particular purpose? Those are the two areas we want to target in the near term, because we already have most of the elements in place to support both.

This article, "Integration entrepreneur: Now's the time for semantic technology," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Eric Knorr's Modernizing IT blog, and for the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld on Twitter.

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