MuleSoft topics

Who & what is MuleSoft?

MuleSoft provides the most widely used integration platform for connecting SaaS & enterprise applications in the cloud and on-premise. Back in 2018, MuleSoft was acquired by Salesforce primarily to accelerate customers digital transformations. MuleSoft's integration platform enables them not only to unlock data across legacy systems, cloud apps and devices but also to make smarter, faster decisions and offer highly differentiated, connected experiences for their customers.
MuleSoft's Anypoint Platform is now a part of the Salesforce Integration Cloud. Conversely, MuleSoft has a pre-built connector into Salesforce for seamless integration.

 

MuleSoft's Anypoint Platform

The Anypoint Platform is a unified, single solution for iPaaS and full lifecycle API management. It consists of the following components:

  • Anypoint Security. It can be categorised in 4 different ways:

    • Platform
    • Perimeter
    • Implementation
    • Data integrity
  • Anypoint Design center - where developers build APIs through a desktop IDE or web interface. It comprises 3 key components: Studio, API Designer, Connector DevKit.

  • Anypoint Management center - the operational hub to manage, monitor, audit and analyse the performance of APIs. It comprises 3 key components: Runtime Manager, API Manager & Analytics. Runtime Manager allows you to deploy and manage applications and monitor performance. API Manager is a key component of this and enables policies to be applied to control access and unlock data with API gateways. Analytics provides visibility into API traffic and provides performance metrics.

  • Anypoint Exchange - the market place for APIs. This is the first place users should check before commissioning the build of new APIs.

  • Runtime engine & services - this is where the APIs are run from and data is processed.

    MuleSoft titan-anypoint-platform
  • API-led connectivity - An architectural methodology driven by MuleSoft to connect data to applications through reusable APIs. These APIs are broken into 3 different types and play very different roles: System, Process and Experience. Unlocking data from systems, composing data into processes or delivering for a specific type of experience. This is a big shift away from building point to point integrations and creates a flexible framework which minimises the need to build every time for each additional project.

  • Application Network - A way of connecting applications, data and devices through APIs that expose some or all of their assets and data on the network. That network allows other consumers from other parts of the business to come in and discover and use those assets.

  • DataWeave - the MuleSoft expression language for accessing and transforming data that travels through a MuleSoft application.

 

MuleSoft Platform deployment options

The Anypoint Platform can be deployed in a variety of different ways including both Cloud and On-Premise options. From a deployment point of view it’s important to understand that the platform is divided into two fundamental parts and this is shown in the diagram below:

Mulesoft deployment model

  • Control Plane - Runs in AWS and is made up of Design Center, Management Center and Exchange. No customer data resides in the Control plane, just meta data specific to the APIs.

  • Runtime Plane - Can run on Cloudhub (AWS), Public & Private Cloud and customer data centre. This is where the runtimes are based - the engines operating the APIs. This offers single tenancy and is where customer data is processed.

 

Considering these 2 discreet parts of the platform we can now consider the different types of deployment.

  • CloudHub - the platform as a service (PaaS) component of Anypoint Platform - a global, fully-managed, secure, and highly available platform for APIs and integrations. This is the quickest and easiest way to get up and running. It’s also the most cost effective with MuleSoft covering the cost of the infrastructure as a part of the annual subscription. The control & runtime plane are both fully managed by MuleSoft on AWS.

  • Runtime Fabric (RTF) - a container service that brings cloud benefits to your on-premise deployments — whether they are in data centers or on a private cloud. Mule runtimes can be deployed across any cloud, including Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and data centers. The control plane is customer managed & runtime plane managed by MuleSoft on AWS.

  • Hybrid - Mule runtimes can be deployed across any cloud, including Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and data centers. The control plane is customer managed & runtime plane managed by MuleSoft on AWS.

  • Private Cloud Edition (PCE) - This is the most secure type of deployment from a customer perspective providing them with control of all components of the platform on their own infrastructure. The control & runtime plane can both be customer managed.

 

How do licences and subscriptions work

When evaluating the procurement of a platform such as MuleSoft, it's essential to assess not only the expense of running it but also measure the cost against the expected business value.

Establishing what capacity is needed to run your APIs is a collaborative effort undertaken between yourself, MuleSoft and Infomentum. Together we discuss the Anypoint Platform's additional components that you will require.

We have a page that explains MuleSoft licensing and its pricing model.

 

What makes MuleSoft stand out from the crowd

In September 2020, Gartner named MuleSoft a Leader for the 6th time in the Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS). Also, MuleSoft has been named a Leader in the Magic Quadrant for Full Life Cycle API Management.

The MuleSoft Anypoint integration platform is a unified platform which offers a holistic approach to API design and development. MuleSoft supports almost 300 connectors to databases, SaaS platforms, storage resources, and network services.

 

The MuleSoft Anypoint integration platform ensures:

  • Accelerated Delivery - Fast-to-start, fast-over-time. MuleSoft has various pre-built assets and connectors to enable the rapid start of integration projects. Infomentum also offers several additional accelerators to speed up API development. Once a solid set of foundations have been laid, the reuse of the existing APIs will reduce future projects' development.
  • Automated Security - the Anypoint Platform offers security and governance at different levels and stages of APIs lifecycle. The platform complies with standard security and logging requirements by automatically applying the same set of security and policies to all APIs. API owners can quickly design, build and deploy fully-secure APIs in a consistent way.
  • Resilient Operations - the Anypoint Platform comes with built-in reliability, scalability, and visibility. Understanding the state of your infrastructure and systems is essential for ensuring the reliability and stability of your services. Anypoint Monitoring, Analytics and Visualizer components will help you to make smart operational decisions based on topology graphs and runtime performance metrics. These tools will reduce the time required for the identification and resolution of problems while ensuring resilient operations.
  • Future-proof foundations - the platform is flexible and built for change. The Anypoint platform ensures a future-proof foundation with a plug-and-play architecture. Its versatility enables you to adapt to changing requirements without the need to rebuild APIs or integrations. It means you can switch at a future time to an alternate deployment approach (e.g. Cloudhub to Runtime Fabric) or drop/replace integrations at the system API layer with minimal impact on the rest of your Application Network.

 

Driving Customer Success with CSM's and Partners

MuleSoft is passionate about its customers and does everything to ensure they get maximum benefits out of the platform. At the heart of the ongoing relationship with clients is the team of Customer Success Managers (CSM's). It closely works with customers to drive out plans around enablement, C4E set-up and roadmap. The team always aligns its work with the delivery partner engaged, so you get the best out of both.

MuleSoft's Center for Enablement (C4E) lays the foundations for success. One of the framework's goals is to set up a cross-functional team (IT & Business) to share knowledge and promote reusable assets, API's and best practices. This approach enables self-service and efficient delivery within the organisation and creates an environment for implementing new solutions considerably faster.

The ongoing relationship with MuleSoft CSM always focuses on an Outcomes-Based Delivery (OBD) approach. As a part of this delivery process, MuleSoft provides partners and customers with access to their Catalyst Framework It contains a set of reusable assets, templates and playbooks to create a best-practice approach for implementation. Furthermore, the framework is a pool of accelerators to avoid reinventing the wheel regarding documentation and standards.

 

MuleSoft Partners

MuleSoft invests heavily into their Partner Network. Infomentum is one of the MuleSoft partners; we are a boutique implementation and training partner. Partners are required to demonstrate their capabilities via Certification badges (across various roles) as well as the success of their various implementations.

Although customers are recommended to take a degree of internal ownership over their MuleSoft-based projects, there is enormous value to be gained from working closely with an experienced partner. Experienced and knowledgeable partners ensure that customers de-risk their programmes and accelerate delivery by adopting various frameworks, assets and documented standards.

 

Various MuleSoft terms and concepts

 

What is an API

An API is a piece of code that creates an access point to an application or a system. It's an intermediary that accepts requests from the outside, securely passes it to the system and then communicates the response back. The system remains a black box. The advantage - no need to know how the system works and processes requests, moreover, the system can be replaced entirely but the request-response chain will continue working perfectly well as long as the API knows how to 'talk' to the new system.

 

Mule ESB (Enterprise Service Bus)

Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) is fundamentally an architecture. It is a set of rules and principles for integrating numerous applications over a bus-like infrastructure. The core concept of the ESB architecture is connecting different applications by putting a communication bus between them and then enable each application to talk to this bus. This approach decouples systems, allowing them to communicate without dependency on or knowledge of other participants.

Mule, the runtime engine of Anypoint Platform, is a flexible ESB solution which helps to increase agility by implementing a simple, well defined, "pluggable" system that scales well.

 

Orchestration and flows

Orchestration is required when there is a need to combine existing services to meet business requirements. It involves decoupling point-to-point integration in favour of chains of operations that can be reused or modified as systems or business needs change.

Flows enable new ways to orchestrate service mediation. For example, you can combine an arbitrary number of sources, routers, and components that work together to achieve implementation requirements. Flows enable you to orchestrate new forms of data movement based on flow-specific routers. Orchestration allows you to create and reuse flows and component chains, chain together multiple components in one flow, and integrate sources or connectors anywhere in a flow.

 

How does MuleSoft work?

MuleSoft offers numerous pre-built APIs for all types of applications and systems. By placing an API in front of your old legacy systems, you immediately acquire a modern way to interact with this system without knowing how it operates. If all your on-premise or cloud systems have an intermediary API, called System APIs, who can understand the modern system's language, then they can communicate by exchanging data. All MuleSoft APIs are organised in the network and are assigned different roles. More complex Process APIs are responsible for processing the extracted data and performing some logic, while Experience APIs deal with formatting the data to be presented to different media devices like desktops, mobiles, apps etc. The Anypoint platform is unique in its ability not only to manage and orchestrate API-led integration but also develop and execute APIs.

 

Difference between On-premise and CloudHub deployment?

Anypoint Platform is the same product whether a customer uses Cloudhub or installs on their private Cloud. Note though that the Anypoint Platform Private Cloud Edition (PCE) set up is typically 6 months behind in terms of product releases.

The two key parts of the product, Control and Runtime Plane, are in different locations depending on the chose deployment option. The Control Plane can only be customer-managed when opting for a PCE deployment model.

 

What is the difference between Mule ESB Enterprise Edition and Anypoint Platform?

Mule, a lightweight Java-based enterprise service bus (ESB), represents the Mule Runtime itself and so is just referring to 1 component of Anypoint Platform. The Anypoint Platform also includes Design center, Management center and Anypoint Exchange.

 

What is MuleSoft zero downtime deployment?

CloudHub is responsible for keeping your application up-to-date, so API users experience zero downtime. During your application update, CloudHub keeps both the old version and the new version of your application running. Your domain points to the old version of your application until the new version is complete and fully started. This approach ensures no disruption to users as all requests are serviced from the old application while the new version is starting.

Because CloudHub is an integration platform as a service (iPaaS), MuleSoft manages operating system and Mule runtime engine patching. CloudHub applies security patches as needed to ensure that your application is secure and, once per month, it updates Mule to maintain the stability of your application with zero downtime.

Need help with MuleSoft?

Get in touch +44 (0) 203 7438014 or email to info@infomentum.co.uk

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