IBM® Integration Bus is designed to solve all integration requirements between back-end systems, from simple point-to-point connectivity to sophisticated topological patterns such as ESBs. It has a wide range of built-in connectors that enable integration between web services, files, databases, packaged applications such as SAP and Microsoft® Dynamics CRM, plus a variety of configuration and transformation options such as graphical mapping, Java™, and Microsoft .NET®.
IBM Integration Bus is available in Developer, Express, Standard, and Advanced editions to cover a very wide range of organizational sizes and budgets. The product also provides a range of flexible deployment options, including standard operating systems such as Linux®, Microsoft Windows®, IBM AIX®, and IBM z/OS®; virtualised systems such as AIX Hypervisor and VMware; and public clouds such as IBM SmartCloud.
IBM Integration Bus is a significant evolution of the WebSphere Message Broker technology base, with continuous innovation to incorporate an increasing number of integration use cases, such as BPM, business rules, Microsoft .NET, and workload management. Migration from WebSphere Message Broker to IBM Integration Bus is a simple version-to-version upgrade. The product can be deployed alongside broker infrastructures on the same operating system, and it provides a single command to migrate between the two environments.
IBM Integration Bus incorporates WebSphere ESB use-cases, with WebSphere ESB capabilities folded into IBM Integration Bus in time. A conversion infrastructure built in from day one takes existing WebSphere ESB mediations and converts them into IBM Integration Bus resources. Fully extensible, these tools will also evolve over time to cover an increasing number of WebSphere ESB use-cases without manual intervention. Throughout this process, WebSphere ESB will remain fully supported, so that its users can plan for conversion to IBM Integration Bus at a time and pace appropriate for their businesses, and in a way that accommodates the complexity of their WebSphere ESB environments.
IBM Integration Bus complements WebSphere DataPower integration gateway products, which are designed for all edge-of-network scenarios. Figure 1 below shows how IBM Integration Bus complements an integration gateway:
Figure 1. IBM Integration Bus with an integration gateway
Five core themes of IBM Integration Bus V9
Five core themes have driven IBM Integration Bus V9 product development:
- Simple and Productive
- New features in IBM Integration Bus make it easier for you to develop, deploy, and manage integration solutions, whether you are an existing user of WebSphere Message Broker or WebSphere ESB, or are new to integration.
- Universal and Independent
- As a single product designed to incorporate all integration use cases, IBM Integration Bus will continually expand the range of endpoints to which it can be connected. It will remain independent of any one technology or programming style, so that users with a wide range of skills can quickly gain product expertise, and solutions will be easy to deploy regardless of the surrounding technology landscape.
- Industry-specific and Relevant
- IBM Integration Bus will deliver an increasing amount of industry-specific content on top of its core features, making it easier for you to work with endpoints that require industry-specific formats and protocols. An already available example is the Healthcare Integration Pack.
- Dynamic and Intelligent
- Business-critical integration products must react quickly to changing technical and business requirements through rules and policy-based configurations, and they must also provide insight into data flowing through various IT systems. Key features in IBM Integration Bus V9 enable the dynamic operational control of key configuration parameters, and they can help provide valuable business intelligence.
- High-performing and Scalable
- IBM Integration Bus is optimized for high data throughput and linear scaling. New V9 features ensure that it can perform exceptionally fast and scale in a wide variety of deployment scenarios.
Each major IBM Integration Bus V9 feature fits into one of the five core themes, and the rest of this article describes these features.
Web visualization and statistics
The IBM Integration Bus web user interface (UI)enables you to view and manage Integration Bus resources without any additional management software. It connects to a single port on the integration node, provides a view of all deployed integration solutions, and gives you access to important operational features such as the built-in data record and replay tool.
IBM Integration Bus includes a set of performance monitoring tools that visually portray current server throughput rates, showing various metrics such as elapsed and CPU time in ways that immediately draw attention to performance bottlenecks and spikes in demand. You can drill down into granular details, such as rates for individual connectors, and the tools enable you to correlate performance information with configuration changes so that you can quickly determine the performance impact of specific configuration changes.
Figure 2. Performance analysis in IBM Integration Bus web UI
Policy-based workload management
Many IT systems to struggle to cope with peaks in demand, and IBM Integration Bus includes features to control the rate at which these systems are loaded, in order to improve overall system reliability. The product includes two new mechanisms to control the rate at which integrations are processed:
- An administrator can define a threshold at which a notification is published. Once enabled, when the rate of processing of a given integration flow exceeds the defined rate, then a message on a publish/subscribe topic is published, enabling subscribers to that topic to take action. A second notification is published when the rate falls back below the threshold.
- An administrator can delay work that exceeds a certain rate, a process known as traffic shaping. The effect is to even out peaks in demand, leveling out throughput performance to achieve a consistent rate of processing.
You can combine these thresholds to form sophisticated workload management algorithms, which can be easily configured on individual integration flows. They can also be defined as workload management policies using a powerful new editor in the IBM Integration Bus web UI. This latter approach to configuration lets you associate thresholds with groups of integration flows, enabling specific classes of service (such as batch or online work) to be enforced across a range of scenarios. You maintain the policies in an embedded registry, which is an integral part of IBM Integration Bus.
IBM Integration Bus can also detect and manage unresponsive integrations. You can define a threshold in the policy at which an integration is considered unresponsive, and then define an action when that threshold is crossed, such as to restart the integration server.
Figure 3. Workload Management Policy Editor in the IBM Integration Bus Web UI
Business rules empower decision makers to make dynamic changes to IT system operations without requiring costly development efforts. IBM Integration Bus V9 let you deploy and invoke such rules as part of integration logic, enabling rules to affect integrations in a robust, high-performance manner. A Decision Service connector implements this feature, translating elements from the input data into parameters for the business rule. The rule is then invoked using the embedded rule engine, and the output is captured for downstream processing. This feature uses the separately licensed IBM Operational Decision Manager (ODM) product, and uses the ODM Decision Center for full business rule management scenarios, such as rule governance.
Figure 4. Business rules editing in the IBM Integration Toolkit
Integration with BPM
Scenarios for integration are closely allied with scenarios for business processes: it is common to want to perform systems integration tasks alongside human workflow as part of a sophisticated business process, or to invoke a business process as part of systems integration activities. Synergy with IBM Business Process Manager (BPM) Advanced (previously known as WebSphere Process Server) is an important feature of IBM integration technologies -- for example, in WebSphere Message Broker with its strong set of Service Component Architecture connectors, and in WebSphere ESB with its embedded integration services for IBM BPM Advanced.
IBM Integration Bus builds on this synergy by providing sophisticated features that make it an ideal integration layer for IBM BPM Standard and Express (previously known as Lombardi). It provides a natural handover point between the process designer and the integrator, making it simple to develop a solution that incorporates both human workflow and systems integration activities.
As part of a business process definition, a process designer can define systems tasks that describe the high-level interfaces and business objects to an integration activity. You can then import the process directly into the IBM Integration Toolkit, which lets the integrator complete the implementation of these tasks, using the full range of systems integration capability provided by IBM Integration Bus.
Integration with Microsoft .NET
IBM Integration Bus is a natural fit for users with a significant investment in Microsoft technologies. On the Windows, IBM Integration Bus embeds a Common Language Runtime to invoke any .NET logic as part of an integration. It also includes full support for the Visual Studio development environment, including the integrated debugger and code templates. IBM Integration Bus includes a comprehensive set of patterns and samples that demonstrate bi-directional connectivity with both Microsoft Dynamics CRM and MSMQ.
In addition, a new .NETInput connector complements the outbound .NETCompute connector, and enables data from a .NET system to form the entry point to an integration, in both polled and triggered scenarios.
Finally, you can package the implementation of a .NET connector for reuse by taking existing .NET logic and an instantiated connector, and easily distributing them to users so that they appear in the integration flow palette for use in subsequent integrations. This feature includes full support for customized branding, and user properties to specify important points of variability.
Integration services and service discovery
Integration services are well-defined containers of integration logic that can be developed, deployed, and managed in IBM Integration Bus. Just as WebSphere ESB has services that encapsulate the interfaces of an SOA integration solution, services in IBM Integration Bus are first-class containers that cover not only standards-based SOA, but can also be used to bridge wide-ranging heterogeneous scenarios.
IBM Integration Bus introduces the ability to discover both database and MQ services, and to use the discovered service definitions to simplify solution creation. In the IBM Integration Toolkit, you can specify the connection details to remote queue managers and databases, and then the interfaces (such as tables and stored procedures) are discovered and encapsulated in a WSDL document that describes the inputs, outputs, and operations of that system. The WSDLs can then be used to cataloguing your available services (MQ service definitions can be stored in the embedded integration registry), and also for creating integrations that use those services, such as web service facades. This improvement in the development process not only helps you achieve a structured, simplified approach to solution development, it also helps avoid common errors when describing remote systems.
Figure 5. Editing Integration Services for SOA in the IBM Integration Toolkit"
Message modelling and mapping
IBM Integration Bus uses standard, non-proprietary file formats to describe solution elements wherever possible, in order to minimize rework when transferring between integration products. Data Format Description Language (DFDL) is an industry-standard way to model non-XML data that is used across many IBM and non-IBM solutions. For example, the DFDL web community on Github hosts an increasing number of DFDL models for industry standard message formats, including HL7, ISO8582, and TLOG.
IBM Integration Bus has strong support for the DFDL standard, including user-defined variables, packed numeric fields, delimited binary data, and field lengths given by regular expressions. It provides better performance when parsing and serializing DFDL messages, faster deployment times, and improvements in the DFDL Editor that making it easier to develop and work with DFDL models.
The IBM Graphical Data Mapper is an easy-to-use, yet sophisticated editor to visually map and transform source to target data. Similar to DFDL, it is designed to be used across all products that need to map data elements, and is already being used by IBM Integration Bus, IBM Integration Designer, IBM InfoSphere MDM, Rational Application Developer, Rational Software Architect, and WebSphere DataPower. A rich feature set and simple design make IBM Graphical Data Mapper a good default transformation choice, and its implementation inside IBM Integration Bus includes full stored procedure support to complement existing database selects, inserts, updates, and deletes. It also includes further migration of maps from the WebSphere Message Broker V7 mapping tool.
Integration with IBM MessageSight
IBM MessageSight is an appliance-based messaging server built on special-purpose hardware, and it supports very large numbers of connected clients and devices, and very high message volumes. IBM Integration Bus supports IBM MessageSight and includes two comprehensive patterns that provide production-ready, bi-directional connectivity between back-end systems and connected MessageSight clients. The Event Filter pattern uses IBM Integration Bus to receive events from mobile clients via IBM MessageSight, filter the events based on specified criteria, and forward events that match the criteria to a back-end system. The Event Notification pattern uses IBM Integration Bus to receive events from a back-end system and dynamically publish those events to mobile clients via IBM MessageSight.
IBM Integration Bus Developer Edition
IBM Integration Bus will be available through standard IBM channels, and will also be downloadable as a single Developer Edition, to make it as easy as possible for you to acquire and get started with the product. You can use Developer Edition for evaluation, development, unit test, and other scenarios. Download IBM Integration Bus Developer Edition now.
IBM Integration Bus V9 is IBM's new strategic integration product, and this article described some of its many new features. For more information on the new features, see What's new in IBM Integration Bus V9 in the IBM Integration Bus information center.
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