Long ago, the first enterprise application integration (EAI) vendors offered pairwise integrations between different specific packaged applications. That was, for example what was going on at Katrina Garnett’s Crossworlds/Crossroads, which eventually became one of IBM’s first data integration software acquisitions. Years later, Cast Iron Systems tried what seemed to be pretty much the same thing, only better implemented. Recently, however, Cast Iron has been pretty hard to get a hold of, and I also couldn’t find anybody (competitor, friend of management, whatever) who believed Cast Iron was doing particularly well. So today’s news that IBM is acquiring Cast Iron Systems comes as no big surprise.
Cast Iron sold an integration appliance, most focused on integrations that involved SaaS applications such as Salesforce, with an option for doing all this purely in the cloud. IBM is accordingly spinning Cast Iron as a major cloud player, which is something of an exaggeration.
IBM will surely get value from whatever specific connectors Cast Iron does a better job at than IBM’s current offerings do. What I’m more curious about is whether Cast Iron’s core technology will survive in a form that continues it’s core message of “simplicity, simplicity, simplicity.”