Integration

Orchestration

Orchestration is the ability to control operational flows and activities based on business rules, especially in multi-application systems complicated enough to require middleware such as ESB (“Enterprise Service Bus”) or the older MOM (“Message-Oriented Middleware”).

In the context of a file transfer system, orchestration often refers to the ability to apply automation such as triggers, schedules, explicit calls and chained calls to model or solve a business problem.

In the context of SOA (“Service Oriented Architecture”), orchestration typically refers to the ability of programmers to rapidly develop composite applications due to the fact that most available application APIs have been encapsulated and published in reliable directories that programmers’ applications can easily interpret and use.

BEST PRACTICE: Orchestration typically invokes an image of “drag and drop” business application development: a task easy enough for the average business analyst.  Reality often requires more than that: shelling out to scripts, editing raw XML documents by hand and having to clean up “orchestrated code” after an incompatible interface is rolled out are still common issues.

Middleware

Middleware is a software architecture concept that refers to integration of disparate applications to facilitate reliable communication.  Middleware frequently relies on encapsulating inter-application communications in the concept of an “message”, and often has the ability to queue or perform optimized delivery or copying of messages to various applications.

Common types of middleware include EAI (“Enterprise Application Integration”) middleware such as ESB (“Enterprise Service Bus”) or the older MOM (“Message-Oriented Middleware”).

File transfer applications are themselves often used as middleware, helping to facilitate bulk data transfers between applications using standards such as FTP.  Managed file transfers often include the ability to perform some intelligent routing of data and sensitivity to particular transmission windows set by the business.

ESB

ESB is short for “Enterprise Service Bus“, a modern integration technology used to quickly tie heterogeneous applications across different operating systems, platforms and deployment models.

 

Enterprise Application Integration

Enterprise Application Integration (“EAI”) is a methodology which balances seamless experience across heterogeneous enterprise applications and datasets of various origins, scope and capability with the need to make major changes to those applications or datasets.

Today, EAI often uses ESB (“Enterprise Service Bus”) infrastructure to allow these various applications to communicate with each other.  Before ESB, MOM (“Message-Oriented Middleware”) would have been used instead.

Today’s convergence of file transfer and EAI systems was foretold by Steve Cragg’s 2003 white paper entitled “File Transfer for the Future – Using modern file transfer solutions as part of an EAI strategy”.   In that paper, Cragg wrote that, “judicious use of file transfer in its modern form as part of an overall EAI strategy can reduce overall business risk, deliver an attractive level of ROI, speed time to market for new services and enable new business opportunities quickly (for example B2B).”

 

Enterprise Service Bus

An Enterprise Service Bus (“ESB”) is a modern integration concept that refers to architectural patterns or specific technologies designed to rapidly interconnect heterogeneous applications across different operating systems, platforms and deployment models.

ESBs include a set of capabilities that speed and standardize a Service-Oriented Architecture (“SOA”), including service creation and mediation, routing, data transformation, and management of messages between endpoints.

With the rise of SOA in the mid-2000′s, ESBs took over from MOM (“Message-Oriented Middleware”) as the leading technology behind EAI (“Enterprise Application Integration”).

Examples of commonly deployed ESBs include MuleSoft’s open source Mule ESB, IBM WebSphere ESB, Red Hat JBoss and Oracle ESB.  The Java Business Integration project (“JBI”) from Apache is also often referred to as an ESB.

EAI

EAI is short for “Enterprise Application Integration“, a methodology which balances seamless experience across heterogeneous enterprise applications and datasets of various origins, scope and capability with the need to make major changes to those applications or datasets.

 

Message-Oriented Middleware

Message-Oriented Middleware (“MOM”) is software that delivers robust messaging capabilities across heterogeneous operation systems and application environments.   Up through the early 2000′s MOM was the backbone of most EAI (“Enterprise Application Integration”) inter-application connectivity.  Today, that role largely belongs to to ESB (“Enterprise Service Bus”) infrastructure instead.

 

 

MOM

In the context of file transfer, MOM stands for “Message-Oriented Middleware“, which is software that delivers robust messaging capabilities across heterogeneous operation systems and application environments.

 

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