Cloud Adoption

iPaaS vs ESB: What’s the difference?

iPaaS vs. ESB

According to Forbes, “Gartner predicts the worldwide public cloud service market will grow from $182.4B in 2018 to $331.2B in 2022.” This upswing can pose a huge challenge for companies’ integration needs. Legacy models won’t cut it anymore with systems such as ESB (Enterprise Service Bus). ESBs are not designed to work with cloud integration. That’s where iPaaS comes in. iPaaS works to fill in the gaps where the ESB system lacks. iPaaS vs. ESB, learn the differences. READ MORE: Enterprise Comparison of API Gateways and ESBs

System type

iPaaS and ESB are on opposite ends of the spectrum. iPaaS operates as a set of integration tools, offering a public cloud service and needs no on-premises hardware or software. With iPaaS, they can handle lightweight messaging and document standards.

ESB is an on-premises software architecture model. ESB usually employs technology common before the rise of the cloud. Thus, it’s viewed as an older legacy technology. ESB works best in bringing together on-premises and amassed systems such as SAP.

Some ESB vendors have gone one step further to come up with new features to move cloud services along.

iPaaS vs. ESB complexity

iPaaS integration solutions are well suited for adjustable and real-time applications. This remains important for cloud-based services because of being lightweight. Yet, ESB integrates complex IT systems and architecture. It holds together an enterprise’s on-premises and legacy systems. Read more about How Integration as a Platform (iPaaS) is changing enterprise integration.


The main point of difference between iPaaS and ESB is flexibility. ESB works in vertical flexibility. This is an integration of an enterprise’s complex internal systems and architecture.

iPaaS is horizontal in flexibility. iPaaS works with integration that allows for fluid interaction between third parties, partners, and ad hoc applications such as SaaS solutions. Further, iPaaS is light and flexible. iPaaS provides connection capabilities. This enables cloud applications and systems to come together in a seamless manner. READ MORE: Build critical, high-volume data flows.

Other differences

The bottom line comes down to ease! ESB solutions are not multi-tenant. That is software running on a single service while working with a lot of users. iPaaS can handle this, which gives iPaaS the edge over ESB. Further, multi-tenancy helps to cut admin costs during integration. When you throw in ad hoc integration solutions, ESB is too slow to handle such projects. Ad hoc integration projects require solutions that are flexible and lightweight, not old and outdated.

Read the checklist for five key benefits of iPaaS for enterprise integration.