CIO, Cloud, Data Center, Opinion

PanelCast 2019 Predictions: The Future of Interoperability and Integration

Is interoperability and integration between product manufacturers increasing or decreasing?

This blog post was created following ActualTech Media‘s inaugural PanelCast event, held in December of 2018.  This event addressed 2019 enterprise IT predictions in a discussion moderated by Scott D. Lowe, along with four industry experts, including Sirish Raghuram of Platform9, Theresa Miller of Cohesity, Mike Wronski of Nutanix, and Jeff Ready of Scale Computing.

If you’d like to watch our very first PanelCast, please visit https://youtu.be/lbFfTbdztn8


There is no question that product manufacturers are beginning to see the value of collaboration. The trend is API-driven, but it may not go far without standardization. “The intention is there for it to be increasing and for these platforms to be able to talk with each other through their APIs, but I also think that without the standardization, it can be very challenging at times for enterprise to pull into one standard, central platform,” says Miller.  “The great thing about standards,” jokes Wronski, “is that there’s so many of them to choose from!”

Raghuram sees an upward trend in API-driven interoperability, too, and believes that open source in particular will drive more integration.

It may end up being enterprises demanding it that drives greater interoperability among product manufacturers. Wronski sees this as an inevitability. “I definitely see a desire by our customers at the enterprise to have this, and they’re the ones that are going to push us as software and solution vendors into this.”

Scott's Take

Interoperability and integration are really two different factors that have similar intended outcomes.  Interoperability describes the capabilities for one solution to work with another. Integration is, to me, a step deeper.  Rather than just working together, integration means that two or more services are deeply intertwined with one another.

It’s interesting that we’re living in an increasingly standards-based world which, at the same time, seems more fractured all the time.  The one real commonality that we’re seeing in a lot of products today is the inclusion of APIs that can increasing integration while also enabling advanced automation and orchestration capabilities.

That doesn’t mean that these APIs are always easy to leverage.  In fact, I believe that we’re going to see previously infrastructure-only IT pros that learn some level of coding as being lynchpins to success in the not-too-distant future.  In 2019, IT pros that learn to code in order to help improve IT and business efficiency will be making an incredible investment in their future.  The market isn’t going to see the level of interoperability and integration that it wants without some effort from IT and APIs being exploited by forward-thinking IT pros will be at the heart of that effort.