What are the benefits of using Utilihive instead of cloud service providers' integration services?

All public cloud providers (including Azure, GCP, AWS, Alibaba) offer a variety of cloud services you might want to leverage to build your integration solution. In some circumstances, this can work well. However, there are many reasons why Utilihive may be a better choice for your integration solution needs. Here are some of these scenarios:  

Cloud Vendor Lock-in:

Using cloud service providers' native integration services will create a cloud lock-in.   

Scenario 1: Imagine you are a utility and you have built your integration solution for your AMI 2.0 architecture on Google Cloud, AWS or Azure Integration Services. The energy system is changing fast. As are regulations. If the regulator suddenly requires mission-critical integration solutions to operate in a private cloud or on-premise, you would be forced to undertake an enormous migration and re-implementation project. As a utility, you need to "Design for Uncertainty." Investing in a cloud native integration platform like Utilihive offers flexibility and avoids vendor lock-in.   

Scenario 2: Imagine your cloud provider increases subscription costs or retires some of its services. Running natively on the cloud provider’s service offers little to no choice, or alternative. Utilihive, with its cloud-native implementation, offers the flexibility to move to a different cloud provider (or even a private cloud or on-premise alternative) without the need to adapt any of your implemented services or integration solutions.   

Cloud Operations & SRE (Site Reliability Engineering):

Implementing your integration solution using a cloud provider’s integration service is only one part of the story.  You also have to configure the platform and services. In addition, you have to operate and manage your: 

  1. cloud infrastructure with all the required services, and
  2. implemented and delivered integrations.

This requires you spend substantially on additional resources in cloud operations and SRE to operate your cloud platform for mission-critical integrations.   

Utilihive is offered as a managed service, providing peace of mind and eliminating the need for additional CloudOps and SREs, so you can focus on your integrations.   

Cloud Cost Optimization:

Many organizations are surprised when they receive the final invoices for their total cloud costs. Developing and operating your integrations on a cloud provider’s integration service, you will need to continuously monitor and find ways to reduce your total cloud costs by manually optimizing your configurations and implementations.  

Utilihive is provided as a managed service. The continuous optimization that helps to reduce cloud costs is included as part of the service.

Hybrid Integration:

Very few organizations operate a system landscape completely in the cloud. In most cases, a hybrid integration architecture is in place which includes some legacy applications and local systems. These must integrate with other cloud services. When leveraging a cloud provider’s integration service, implementing and operating services that handle secure communication and integration with your on-premise applications are required.   

Scenario 1: Imagine you are a utility wanting to handle integration with your AMI infrastructure. Your HES (Headend System) or MDC (Meter Data Collection system) operate on-premise and/ or in a secured network domain. When leveraging GCP, AWS or Azure Integration Services, you would have to develop (operate, maintain) a bespoke solution that handles a secure integration with your HES/ MDC.  

Utilihive offers its Utilihive Beatbox, providing an out-of-the-box solution, purpose-built to handle secured hybrid integration scenarios such as OT/IT integrations. 

In addition, Utilihive Beatbox not only handles a secure communication to the cloud, it also offers functionality to deploy integration processes running on Utilihive Beatbox. This benefits utilities that want to handle integration processes between on-premise systems without the data leaving your network domain.   

Integration Flow Monitoring & Business Activity Monitoring

Monitoring is crucial for the successful long-term management of utilities’ integration solutions. Yet the need for this key activity is often underestimated. When leveraging a cloud provider’s native integration services, substantial effort is spent integrating the various services into a holistic solution. Additional effort would need to be spent building monitoring solutions which domain experts or business users could easily operate. 

Utilihive comes pre-configured with Utilihive Heartbeat, a modern and integrated dashboard that functions as your UI (user interface) for end-to-end monitoring and management of all data flows, integrations and messages across all systems, applications and services.   

For utilities operating in the energy sectors, Utilihive offers additional benefits highlighted below.   

Utility Connectors & Dataflows

Utilihive comes with a library of pre-configured application integrations and connectors to commonly used applications in the utility and energy sector. These include pre-built integrations with systems for HES, MDM, CC&B, SCADA, DMD, ADMS, GIS, Asset Manager or field service / workorder management systems. When using cloud providers' integration services, you have to build, operate and manage those integrations yourself.   

Utilihive also comes with a library of pre-defined data flows/ orchestrations for the integration processes a digital utility typically needs to implement (including meter-to-cash, alarm & event handling, synchronization of asset data, exchange of customer & tariff information, integration with national data hubs or market communication, and more). Those data flow templates can be easily customized and configured using the Utilihive (F)Lowcode DSL. When using a cloud provider’s integration service, these integration processes would have to be built, operated and managed in-house.   

Utility Accelerators 

Utilihive offers a set of pre-built application accelerators for utilities including Utilihive SMOC (Smart Meter Operations Center), Utilihive Ghostwriter (Smart Metering simulation platform) or Utilihive ADR (Asset Data Repository) and more. When using cloud providers' platform services, these applications have to be built, operated and managed in-house.   

Important Clarifications

Utilihive is cloud native and can run on-premise, in a private cloud or in public cloud on AWS, Azure or GCP. Utilihive capabilities and accelerators are complementary to any cloud provider’s services. As such, it is not a question whether to select "Utilihive vs Azure Integration Services", "Utilihive vs AWS" or "Utilihive vs GCP". It is better to consider the use cases you need to implement and how those use cases benefit from being implemented on Utilihive. 

Related stories