GETTING STARTED GUIDE
At Akamai, we realize that most organizations sometimes use software other than Identity Cloud software. (Hard to believe, but true). For example, many organizations make extensive use of CRM (customer relations management) software. Likewise, most organizations have marketing software of some kind, and pretty much everyone uses an internal or external database (or, more likely, databases). And these aren’t standalone tools: organizations also need to share information between these platforms. For example, an organization might want to copy their Identity Cloud user accounts to their CRM software, or make sure that Identity Cloud email addresses (and the consents to use those addresses) are available in their email marketing tool. Managing, integrating, and synchronizing user data is an important part of today’s digital world.
It’s always been possible to integrate Identity Cloud data with other software platforms; to be honest, however, it hasn’t always been easy to integrate Identity Cloud data with other software platforms. Historically-speaking, Identity Cloud data integrations have never been self-service; instead, organizations needing to, say, synchronize Identity Cloud accounts with a CRM tool, had to rely on Akamai Professional Services to create, coordinate, and maintain the integration.
Not exactly an ideal situation, for anyone.
If you’re thinking, “This is usually the part where they say something like, ‘This is now a thing of the past,’” well, you’re right: this is now a thing of the past. With the release of the Identity Cloud Integration Bus (a partnership between Akamai and SnapLogic) organizations now have the ability to create, coordinate, and maintain their own data integrations, beginning with a data integration pattern that replaces the Identity Cloud’s data export service.
And with more such patterns to follow.
So what is the Identity Cloud Integration Bus, and what does it mean to you? Let’s see if we can answer a few of your questions, including:
- How much will it cost to add Integration Bus to an Identity Cloud implementation, and when will Integration Bus be available?
- What will the Identity Cloud’s data export pattern actually do?
- What do you mean by a “partnership” between Akamai and SnapLogic?
- And what exactly is a pattern??
- Yes, but we were asking about patterns.
- How can I learn more about the Identity Cloud Integration Bus, and about SnapLogic?
- I have a couple questions you didn’t get to.
How much will it cost to add integration Bus to an Identity Cloud implementation, and when will Integration Bus be available?
At the moment, all we can say is that there is an additional charge for Integration Bus. Contact your Identity Cloud representative for more information.
However, keep in mind that Integration Bus is entirely optional: if you don’t want it or you don’t need, well, then there’s no reason to buy it.
Integration Bus (and its accompanying documentation) is now ready for limited availability. Stay tuned for more details.
What will the Identity Cloud’s data export pattern actually do?
As we mentioned earlier, the first Integration Bus pattern to be released will be the data export pattern. This pattern is designed to make it easy to connect to your Identity Cloud user profile store and export records that have been added or updated since your last connection. Those records are saved, in comma-separated values format, to an Amazon Web Services S3 bucket or to an SFTP server (it’s your choice, and also your storage container: Akamai does not provide the S3 bucket or SFTP server). You can then download the records and import them to any platform that can work with CSV files.
More information about the pattern and how you can get your hands on it will be available in the very near future.
What do you mean by “a partnership” between Akamai and SnapLogic?
SnapLogic has long been a leader in the field of data integrations; because of that, when the time came to overhaul the Identity Cloud data integration story Akamai decided that there was no need to reinvent the wheel. Instead, the Identity Cloud relies on SnapLogic tools to implement Integration Bus. Akamai will do the backend work, creating the primary data integration patterns and pipelines; organizations then use SnapLogic’s user-friendly interface to organize, configure, and manage these patterns and pipelines.
In other words, Akamai provides the backend “plumbing” that make it easy to connect to the Identity Cloud, extract user information, and then integrate that information with other platforms. SnapLogic makes it easy for you to extract your user information and integrate that information with your platforms.
And what exactly is a pattern?
Like many companies, SnapLogic has its own terminology, at least when it comes to data integrations (if you’re interested, you can find a glossary of the most-common SnapLogic terms here). Although you don’t need to be an expert of SnapLogic in order to use an Identity Cloud pattern (that’s the whole idea behind a pattern in the first place), let’s take a brief look at how SnapLogic works.
SnapLogic revolves around “snaps.” Snaps are discrete tasks: reading a file, transforming JSON data to CSV (comma-separated value) data, saving data to a database. And what do you do with these snaps? Well, suppose you want to read data from a CSV file. In that case, and using the SnapLogic Designer, all you have to do is drag-and-drop the File Reader snap from your collection of available snaps and drop it onto your Designer canvas.
Of course, if all you want to do is read from a file, well, you probably don’t need a fancy tool like the SnapLogic Designer. But suppose you want to do something a little more complex: for example, you want to read a CSV file, parse the data, map that data to the fields used in Salesforce, then create new Salesforce accounts based on that data. In other words, you want to string together a number of snaps (tasks) in order to complete a more complex procedure. Stringing those snaps together results in a “pipeline.”
And what if you don’t know how to write code that parses a CSV file or that maps fields in a CSV file to the fields used by Salesforce? That’s the beauty of SnapLogic and of the Identity Cloud Integration Bus: you don’t have to know how to do these things because the individual snaps and pipelines do know how to do those things.
Yes, but we were asking about patterns.
In the SnapLogic world, a “pattern” is nothing more than a pipeline that can be imported to the SnapLogic Designer. When you import a pattern, that means you don’t have to figure out which snaps you need, how those snaps work, and those snaps must be arranged to form a working pipeline. Instead, all you have to do is import the pattern, configure the snaps, and then click the Execute Pipeline button to run the integration. (Although many organizations will execute the pipeline as a scheduled task, meaning that they won’t even have to click a button.)
And who creates these patterns, and how do you get your hands on them? Don’t worry: we have all those bases covered for you.
How can I learn more about the Identity Cloud Integration Bus, and about SnapLogic?
By far the best place to go for information on Integration Bus is the Integration Bus Getting Started Guide, which walks you through the setup and configuration process step-by-step. In addition to that, SnapLogic has an extensive documentation set available at https://docs-snaplogic.atlassian.net/wiki/spaces/SD/overview. If you’re gung-ho on learning about SnapLogic, you might start with the documentation on pipelines (as we noted, a pattern is a pipeline). But remember, you won’t have to build Identity Cloud pipelines yourself; we’ll take care of that for you.
You might also be interested in SnapLogic’s YouTube channel. These videos provide a good overview of, and introduction to, SnapLogic and the SnapLogic Designer. With that in mind, you might want to add the following videos to your SnapLogic playlist:
- How Does SnapLogic Work?
- SnapLogic UI Walkthrough
- SnapLogic Designer Overview
- How to Create a Pipeline
- How to Configure and Execute a Pipeline
I have a couple questions you didn’t get to.
Sorry about that. If you have more questions about Integration Bus, click the Contact Us link in the upper right corner of the page and send us your question. We’ll try to get you the help we need and, if appropriate, we’ll add that question (and the answer) to this FAQ.