Cetrix Blog

Design Principles of Application Integration Architecture

Paul Nilsen - May 11, 2018 10:42:48 AM

There are multiple methods to application integration architecture. The first method is creating a centralized application architecture as a top-down approach, but you may not know all the requirements for your applications beforehand. Generally implemented in a waterfall model, data is prepared based on requirements. While it works, making changes with this design can get expensive.

Another approach is to start from the bottom up. This way you develop applications for each individual department in the business unit. You then network departments together. While this approach is more suitable for application integration architecture, it comes with its own disadvantages such as duplicate applications and infrastructure.

You also have to consider legacy applications, client server, web applications, and how they will change in the future.  A much better approach (and one that coincides with a successful digital transformation) is to consider your entire enterprise and integrate each business, application, data, and infrastructure system into your overall network without becoming too complex and unmanageable.

Either way, your approach must integrate the following enterprise architecture principles to be successful:

  • Client/Server,
  • N-tier,
  • middleware architecture,
  • service oriented architecture (SOA),

In some cases, you can combine some of these systems successfully to address bottlenecks between them.

Fig 1, Enterprise Service Bus-1

Figure -1, Enterprise Service Bus

Fortunately, there is an easy way to combine your middleware and SOA on the market already. It is called enterprise service bus (ESB), and it is capable of addressing all your application integration architecture needs.

While ESB will make your network and IT operations easier, you must choose the right ESB tool. You have a number of choices from both proprietary and open source vendors, such as Dell Boomi, WSO2, Talend ESB, IBM Websphere ESB, and Microsoft Biztalk server. But not all of them will come with the features, architectural capabilities, and cost effectiveness you need based on your desired enterprise integration pattern.

An enterprise integration pattern is a design template for integrating your application, business, and data systems together within your enterprise network. Currently, there are already 65 different integration patterns you can reuse to get your network up and running quickly without having to develop new code.

The following list provides a small sample of the these readily available integration patterns. You can find the complete list in the WSO2 product documentation

Messaging Systems

 Message Channels

Message Channels

How applications interact among themselves.

 Message

Message

How two applications exchange a piece of information.

 Pipes & Filters

Pipes and Filters

How to perform complex processing on a message.

 Message Router

Message Router

How to decouple individual processing steps ..

 Message Translator

Message Translator

How different data formats communicate with each other.

 Message Endpoint

Message Endpoint

How an application connects to a messaging channel .

Messaging Channels

 Point to Point Channels

Point-to-Point Channel

How the caller receives the document or perform the call.

 Publish-Subscribe Channels

Publish-Subscribe Channel

How the sender broadcasts an event to all interested receivers.

 Message Bus

Message Bus

An architecture to work together in a decoupled fashion such that applications can be easily added or removed without affecting the others.

 

System Management

 Channel Purger

Channel Purger

How to removes unwanted messages

 Control Bus

Control Bus

Administers a messaging system that is distributed

 Detour

Detour

Routes a message and performs validation,

 Message Store

Message Store

Reports loosely coupled and transient nature of a messaging system.

 Smart Proxy

Smart Proxy

Tracks and publishes reply messages to the Return Address specified by the requester.



Integration through API Management.

Similar to WSO2 ESB, which handles your business and application integration architecture, WSO2 API manager also handles the application integration. In successful SOA governance, you benefit by exposing main processes and data services as API endpoints to the public.

API creation is linking the available API implementation in back end to the API publisher available. So that you monitor and manage API life cycle, security, community and subscriptions. In an alternative way, API implementation can be kept in-line with the API publisher itself.

However there are new challenges in leveraging API in a collaborative way such as regulation, implementing control, and establishing security and trust. WSO2 API manager takes care of these issues with API creation, publication, life cycle management, monetization, versioning, security, and governance. These are all executed by WSO2 enterprise service bus (ESB), WSO2 identity server, and WSO2 governance registry. WSO2 DAS powers for more scalability.

WSO2 DSS and Analytics manages your data integration. Together as the WSO2 Enterprise Integrator, these tools give your organization the following benefits:

  • Platform independence
  • Scalability
  • Flexibility
  • Content based routing,
  • Reliability
  • Component reusability
  • Interoperability
  • Simplicity
  • Error handling
  • Monitor, auditing, logging
  • Security
  • Guaranteed delivery
  • Asynchronous delivery

References for the above material are found in these links:

Figure-2,     Enterprise integrator

As Figure 2 shows, you get more from WSO2 Enterprise Integrator than just the ESB, DSS, and Analytics modules. You get a complete enterprise IT integration management system.. Out of the box, it comes bundled with these eight modules and profiles.

  • ESB Service Integration (WSO2 ESB)
  • Message broker (WSO2 MB)
  • Business process (WSO2 BPS)
  • Micro-services and Analytics.
  • Real-time data processing (WSO2 DSS)
  • WSO2 Governance registry
  • WSO2 business activity monitor (BAM)
  • API manager and identity server

Each module comes with its own variety of configuration options and settings. Once configured, you can use them right away without any additional costs, resources, or coding. In the end, you get a much more manageable network with fewer interfaces than with any other integration method. More information is available at WSO2 Library

Figure- 3,   ESB integration chart

Figure– 3,   ESB integration chart

Figure-3 shows how many interfaces  are reduced using ESB in the integration. There are 50 applications to be integrated. It shows a maximum of 50 interfaces are needed, where as in other methods you need more than 250 interfaces.

More information is available at this link: A new cost model for comparison of Point to Point and Enterprise Service Bus integration styles

While WSO2 does create a single point of failure for your network, it is quite robust with a number of built-in exception monitoring and handling solutions that meet every industry and government standard. 

Why should you use an ESB?

The business world is undergoing a revolution. With the proliferation of technology across our lives and work, industries around the world are realising that the tried and trusted methods that have kept them moving forward might no longer suffice. Consumers today are connected, informed, and unprecedentedly technologically savvy, and as a result, the companies they deal with are expected to be the same.

Digital transformation — the process by which organizations modernize themselves to incorporate new digital technologies throughout their entire business — is becoming necessary to survive.

Modern clients want instant service and support from the brands they deal with. They want brands that make themselves available to the client in a way that suits the client, not in a way that suits the organization. And they want this experience to be offered seamlessly across every channel. In order for an organization to meet these needs and wants of the consumer, it is absolutely necessary for companies to be innovative and to stay abreast of digital updates and changes. With this in mind, decision makers in businesses are emphasizing the need for digital transformation within their organizations.

With the rise of tools such as CRM, ERP, SRP and others, it has become necessary to integrate these tools in order to have a complete view of your customers data and to provide them with the level of service they expect. Using an ESB will ensure all of your tools talk to each other and give you the power to understand your customers and drive your business forwards.

If you know you need to implement an ESB for your organisation, but don't know where to begin or if you just need advice, contact our consultants to discuss your options. We are experts in the area of ESB integration and have worked with many clients to help them succeed.

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Topics: Application Integration

Paul Nilsen

Paul Nilsen

Paul Nilsen is the director of solution development at Cetrix Cloud Services. He also works with the Solution Development Department at Cetrix Technologies, where he headed the department for three years. Paul has over 20 years of experience in IT, working on software engineering projects, hardware-software product integration, design of special purpose systems using artificial intelligence, and implementing CRM and ERP software systems.

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