IBM® Enterprise Records software is a comprehensive solution that combines content, process and connectivity to meet your records management and compliance challenges This blog provides a high level overview of the system architecture of IBM Enterprise Records and the major components that make up the IBM Enterprise Records application.
The key to understanding IBM Enterprise Records system architecture is to first understand the architecture of the core underlying platform IBM Content Foundation. IBM Content Foundation delivers full content lifecycle and document management capabilities to promote enterprise wide content management (ECM) adoption and increased application development that leverages existing and new types of content. IBM Content Foundation includes the following components:
- Content Platform Engine
- IBM FileNet Content Federation Services
- IBM Content Search Services
- IBM Content Management Interoperability Services for FileNet Content Manager
- IBM Content Navigator
- IBM FileNet Collaboration Services
- IBM Content Foundation documentation
Content Platform Engine is designed to handle the heavy demands of a large enterprise. It can manage enterprise-wide workflow objects, custom objects, and documents by offering powerful and easy-to-use administration tools. Using these tools, an administrator can create and manage the classes, properties, storage, and metadata that form the foundation of an enterprise content management (ECM) system.
The key architectural aspects of the Content Platform Engine include:
- Object-oriented, extensible metadata model
- Application programming interfaces (APIs)
- Java EE-compliant application server
Figure 1 provides a high-level system overview of the Content Platform Engine architecture. It shows the relationship between the platform and where it resides within a typical n-tier distributed architecture.
Figure 1 High level architectural overview of IBM Content Foundation
IBM Enterprise Records builds on top of IBM FileNet Content Platform Engine; it leverages and extends the services provided by the core Content Platform Engine, and extends upon the IBM Content Navigator interfaces. IBM Enterprise Records provides records management functionality, with a single repository that stores all electronic documents and records. With IBM Enterprise Records, you can automate the management of electronic and physical records at the enterprise level.
Figure 2 shows several of the major IBM Enterprise Records components within the IBM FileNet Content Foundation architecture and their relationship to the underlying core IBM FileNet Content Platform Engine services.
Figure 2 High level architectural overview of IBM Content Foundation with IBM Enterprise Records
As shown in Figure 2, several of the major IBM Enterprise Records components are:
- IBM FileNet Content Platform Engine
- IBM Enterprise Records data model
- IBM Enterprise Records roles and Content Engine (CE) security
- Workflow features of the Content Platform Engine
- IBM Enterprise Records workflows
- IBM Enterprise Records workflows
- Within IBM Content Navigator:
- IBM Enterprise Records application
- IBM Content Navigator desktop
- IBM Java API for Records Management ("JARM")
- Component integrator (IBM Enterprise Records Manager operations)
Relationship between content and records
The IBM FileNet family of products uses a common object model (or data model) managed by Content Platform Engine that leverages object-oriented design to store and manage content. IBM Enterprise Records is built directly into Content Platform Engine and therefore inherits the underlying object model and object-oriented design of Content Platform Engine. Information stored and managed in the system are represented as objects, described through the object properties (metadata), identified by object classes, and associated with operational methods of the objects. These objects reside in IBM Content Foundation content repositories, also known as object stores. The object stores are managed by the Content Platform Engine.
For IBM Enterprise Records configuration, there are two types of object stores:
- Records-enabled content Object Store
The Records-enabled content Object Store (ROS) serves as the content repository for electronic documents. Documents stored in an ROS can be declared as records.
- File Plan Object Store
The File Plan Object Store (FPOS) serves as the object store for the file plan, records categories, disposition schedules, and all other business objects required to manage records. When documents in the ROS are declared as records, the record-related information (metadata) is stored as a separate record object in the FPOS.
Figure 3 illustrates IBM Enterprise Records integrated with the IBM Content Foundation and the relationship between records (which store the record-related metadata of the declared documents) in the File Plan Object Store (FPOS) and the associated declared documents in the Records-enabled content Object Store (ROS).
Figure 3 Overview of the relationship between a ROS and an FPOS
The diagram illustrates an IBM Enterprise Records record is a completely separate object from the associated declared document. The record must be contained in a file plan within the FPOS. The record object has a direct reference to the actual declared document that exists in the ROS (or a reference to a physical artifact that exists outside of the ROS). The record object acts as a security proxy for the declared document that it references. For documents that reside in an IBM Content Foundation content repository, the repository is simply another object store that is records-enabled and is managed by the Content Platform Engine. Other electronic documents can reside in a repository outside of IBM Content Foundation content repository. In the case of physical records, the records in IBM Enterprise Records serve as markers or references to the physical objects stored externally to the system, and contain information to identify and manage the physical objects in their home or transitory location.
This architecture allows IBM Enterprise Records to easily unify and manage records across disparate, heterogeneous repositories, including:
- Native IBM FileNet Content Foundation electronic documents
- Non-native electronic documents (external repositories)
- Physical records or artifacts
- IBM Redbooks publication Understanding IBM Enterprise Records, SG24-7623-01.
- A quick view of IBM Enterprise Records
- Legal, regulations, and compliance on Records Management
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