Integration Platform as an Abstraction Layer

Advantages:

  • Flexible integration and outsourcing of the components
  • Reusability of the central components
  • Low effort by slight adaptations and expansions
  • Reliability
  • Manageability
  • Monitoring

Disadvantages:

  • initial overhead (the development of central components)
  • as the case may be a higher latency time of the interface

Successful in heterogeneous system landscapes through integration solutions by QUIBIQ

Integration is key to success in heterogeneous system landscapes - irrespective of whether they evolved historically or are constructed modularly by design. Thus, the ability to engage and dissolve connections between systems or applications fast, flexibly and efficiently is going to play a decisive role in the future.

In the light of these challenges as well as the new technological possibilities to connect people, Systems, applications and processes an architect must be familiar with the wide range of existing integration techniques and needs do know exactly which one he should apply when.

 

Complexity cases point-to-point connections


The traditional solutions for integration requirements were point-to-point connections between the systems which can be integrated:

  • directly at the database level,
  • via import/export files
  • or by directly API calls.

The advantages of such direct connections is that these can be provided simply and fast if necessary.

Your decisive disadvantages: you do not scale. The complexity of the overall system increases with point-to-point connections with each further single connection exponentially (Spaghetti-Integration-Dilemma).

This represents therefore a fast solution in individual cases, becomes as strategic beginning with growth case of complexity. Companies following such an integration concept are thwarted instead of beginning spurred on. And because of more IT investments they become less flexible instead of being more efficient.

 

Solution EAI?


It had been hoped to find a solution for the above-mentioned Spaghetti-Integration-Dilemma by the emergency of EAI-Hub reduces the complexity of integration a Hub-and-Spoke-Scenario from n x to n connections. 

Frequently the result of the EAI projects was due to a wrong and underlying architecture but however the same as with the point-to-point-connections (maybe worse): the single connections only with one additional and an interposed server (Point-to-Hub-to-Spoke-Integration architecture).

This also applies to the EAI-platforms: Not the tool, but its use is crucial. The chosen architecture within the EAI platform determines the efficiency of connections to be realized.

 

Learning from SOA: Integration platform as an abstraction layer


The consistent use of the principles service of oriented architectures in the are of the integration can remedy this easily. The main idea of SOA is:

  • the loose linkage
  • the encapsulated components  
  • by dynamic connections.

If you apply this approach to the conception of an integration platform, it becomes a layer in which applications, systems and processes

  • are abstracted to device of the cross-cutting IT structures (enterprise architecture) and
  • delivers at the same time the Gluware for their linking (in the form of central services etc.).

There is no specific technology like WebServices, XML etc. hiding behind it. Rather, there is a pattern for the creation of a much better integration solutions and for evaluating the quality of integration architectures:

  • complete abstraction:
    All system-specific parameters of a connection (A-B) are drawn into the integration layer (I). So that from A-B connections, independent to each other, A-I and I-B arise. 
  • the loose linkage:
    The connection from A-I and I-B to A-I-B in case of message transfer is not hard wired within I, but arises at the runtime through 
  • dynamic connections:
    The routing of A-I to I-B within I is determined with the help of message at the time of the transference. The integration platform is able itself to infer from the message where it has to go, it doesn't have to get it said from the transmitter.
  • Reusability:
    Outsourcing of recurring tasks in the context of the integration in central services which makes the integration layer available for all merged systems and exchange processes (e.g. logging, load control, sequencing, monitoring).
  • Standardization:
    Standardization of scenarios in standards as far as possible

 

Hybride architectures secure added value in various scenarios


The arrangement of the integration solutions as an abstraction layer is initially offering great advantages:

  • Flexibility: flexible integration and outsourcing of fastened components (applications, service provider etc.), because they abstracted from each other by the integration layer 
  • Reusability of central components
  • This reduces the effort for the customizations and extensions: this should be performed only once at a central location and not in individual compounds
  • Reliability: central guarantee and the fulfillment of the requirements in performance, availability etc. 
  • Manageability: central control
  • Monitoring: central evaluating of transaction data and the associated processes (Process Intelligence)

This advantages must be weighed out in individual cases against the associated disadvantages:

  • Additional expenditure for the construction of the central components  
  • Overhead in the message formatting (separation of the messages and mataininformation for the routing etc.), but also
  • The consumption of resources in the layer (latencies with high performance requirement)  

Only of the basis of this consideration in individual cases for the one and against the other architectural patterns can be made the right decision.

Hence, the hybrid architectures which also offers the suitable, different variations for different cases of need have proven themselves in practice. Most of the connections can be handled in the standard view of the abstraction. thereby, in special cases are further dedicated connections over the central EAI-Hub possible.

An experienced architect, who is specialized in integration solutions, can express the correct recommendation for the concrete requirements.

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