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IBM already has the biggest portfolio of technology for integrating IT systems inside of a company and for linking business-to-business systems, said Steve Mills, senior vice president of IBM’s Software Group, speaking Monday at the vendor’s Impact 2010 conference in Las Vegas.
Cast Iron "does inter-enterprise integration better than anyone else,” he said. The combination of IBM’s products with Cast Iron’s “represents the largest portfolio in the industry in both domains.”
Cast Iron’s OmniConnect software allows businesses to integrate on-demand applications running in public and private clouds with on-premise systems. The company’s products are delivered as an on-demand service, an on-premise application, and as a physical or hosted appliance. OmniConnect can integrate information from disparate sources and display it within a single application’s native user interface.
One customer, pharmaceutical distributor Amerisource Bergen Specialty Group, is using Cast Iron to connect Salesforce CRM to its on-premise data warehouse system. And a division of corporate insurance giant Allianz is likewise using the technology to integrate Salesforce with its on-premise underwriting applications to provide real-time visibility into contract renewals for its sales team.
IBM will continue to offer Cast Iron as a distinct product, but will also port the software to IBM’s DataPower appliance platform, said Kareen Yusuf, director of WebSphere software. Cast Iron currently runs on Dell servers.
Along with Cast Iron’s technology, the acquisition brings to IBM the ecosystem of partnerships it had developed with SaaS vendors and solution providers. IBM executives vowed to maintain and expand that ecosystem.
The acquisition reduces the risk for Cast Iron partners, such as Astadia Consulting, of working with a small company, said Simon Peel, senior vice president of strategy and marketing at Cast Iron. And the addition of Cast Iron to IBM’s product lineup provides opportunities for IBM’s channel partners.
Cast Iron also has an alliance with Hewlett-Packard under which HP makes Cast Iron's integration tools available to its channel partners.