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Force Fit

Does getting your software to interact--without busting your labor budget--feel like trying to cram a square peg into a round hole? EAI provides the tools for smooth integration.

EAI also provides a simplified integration model that does not involve each application team developing in-house code to make systems work together. By offering a single platform for centralized integration, EAI vendors promise to reduce the amount of work each application team must do to retrieve data from other systems.

Most EAI products sell server software and one or more development tools to write interfaces between systems. Many of the products currently on the market are Java-based, using Java Application Servers to provide a solid base for EAI to build on.

And that base is pretty healthy. In researching this article, we heard over and over that integration is one area of IT still being funded. Gartner research supports that, estimating that by 2005, more than 90 percent of large enterprises will have integration technology in place.

Mixing It Up

Integration is critical to keeping systems synchronized. Today, the vast majority of IT shops come down on the "buy" side of the "build versus buy" debate, meaning your corporation is likely full of systems you didn't build and for which you have no source code. Making them communicate is a tall and expensive order, often requiring that your network and server administrators have intimate knowledge of the assumptions made when the integration code was written.

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