IBM App Connect Enterprise technical overview

IBM® App Connect Enterprise enables information packaged as messages to flow between different business applications, ranging from large traditional systems through to unmanned devices such as sensors on pipelines.

Figure 1. The main components of IBM App Connect Enterprise and how they interact.
This diagram shows the main components of IBM App Connect Enterprise and how they interact.

IBM App Connect Enterprise processes messages in two ways: message routing and message transformation.

Message routing

Messages can be routed from sender to recipient based on the content of the message.

The message flows that you design control message routing. A message flow describes the operations to be performed on the incoming message, and the sequence in which they are carried out.

Each message flow consists of the following parts:

You create message flows in the IBM App Connect Enterprise Toolkit.

Message transformation

Messages can be transformed before being delivered:
  • They can be transformed from one format to another, perhaps to accommodate the different requirements of the sender and the recipient.
  • They can be transformed by modifying, combining, adding, or removing data fields, perhaps involving the use of information stored in a database. Information can be mapped between messages and databases. More complex manipulation of message data can be achieved by writing code, for example in Extended SQL (ESQL) or Java™, within configurable nodes.
Transformations can be made by various nodes in a message flow. Before a message flow node can operate on an incoming message, it must understand the structure of that message.
  • Some messages contain a definition of their own structure and format. These messages are known as self-defining messages, which you can handle without the need for additional information about structure and format; see Self-defining elements and messages.
  • Other messages do not contain information about their structure and format. To process them, you must create a model of their structure; see The message model.
Like message flows, you create message models in the IBM App Connect Enterprise Toolkit. They can contain two types of information:

Configure integration servers

The work of routing and transforming messages takes place in one or more integration servers.

You can configure multiple integration servers, each with their own identity, and deploy them either to containers in the cloud or in an on-premises environment. By setting up multiple integration servers, you can isolate message flows that handle sensitive data such as payroll records, security information, or unannounced product information, from other non-sensitive message flows.

The mode in which IBM App Connect Enterprise is running can affect the number of integration servers and message flows that you can deploy. For more information, see Restrictions that apply in each operation mode.

For a technical overview of integration servers, see Integration servers and integration nodes.

Develop your integration solutions

Your application developers can create and modify integration solutions, as message flows and resources, by using the IBM App Connect Enterprise Toolkit.

Different perspectives in the IBM App Connect Enterprise Toolkit are used to develop message flows, message model schema files, and other related resources; see IBM App Connect Enterprise Toolkit.

You can connect IBM App Connect Enterprise to your applications by adding the appropriate nodes to your message flow. The nodes you use can be tailored to support the protocols and subsystems that your applications already use. IBM App Connect Enterprise supplies nodes to support different protocols and subsystems, including IBM MQ, JMS 1.1 or 2.0, HTTP and HTTPS, web services (SOAP and REST), File, Enterprise Information Systems (including SAP and Siebel), and TCP/IP. You can also create your own nodes to support additional protocols and subsystems if required. For more information about connecting applications, see Nodes for connectivity.

Deploy your integration solution

During the development of an integration solution, you can deploy the development resources directly to an integration server by using options in the IBM App Connect Enterprise Toolkit. By using this approach, you can quickly verify changes as you develop your solution.

When you are ready to deploy your solution to a production environment, you can package the resources into a BAR file. Before you deploy your solution to a production environment, you can customize the BAR file to configure the solution for any differences between the development environment and the production environment. Your production environment could be IBM App Connect Enterprise or IBM App Connect on IBM Cloud®.

You can deploy your integration solutions in a variety of ways, such as by using the IBM App Connect Enterprise Toolkit, the web user interface, or by using a command. For an introduction to the web user interface, see IBM App Connect Enterprise web user interface.

For more information about deploying applications to your integration servers; see Deploying integration solutions.