In Sterling B2B Integrator, a service is a resource that you can configure to carry out an activity.

For example, the Translation service is used to convert EDI or XML data from one format to another.

Service Types

A service type is the definition of a service. A service type is like a java class: it is not an object; it must be instantiated for it to exist. The service type defines the "concept" of a particular service; the service configuration you create from it is the object.

Service types are not used directly to perform activities. Instead, you create a service configuration from a service type. Then, you use the configuration in a business process, or in some cases, set the service or adapter to run on its own and communicate with other systems.

Service Configurations

A service configuration is a copy of a particular service type. You use service configurations to perform various activities in the system, such as translating data, receiving data from another application, or tracking specific information like a Sender ID through the various stages of a business process.

To use a service, you must first select an existing service configuration, or create a new one. Some service configurations are installed with the product; these are predefined and ready to use for specific functions. Review the documentation for the service type to see if there are existing configurations that would fit your needs. If not, you can create a new configuration.
Note: Many pre-configured services, such as the FTP Client PUT service, use pre-defined values set by the manufacturer. These values can be different from the default values used when you create new configurations of the same services.
Defining a new service configuration has two steps:
  • Create the service configuration in Admin Console, which automatically assigns any global-level parameters to this configuration. Global parameters are those that apply to all configurations that you create for a particular service type. You enter information for any instance-level parameters for this service type in the Admin Console. Instance parameters are specific to a single service configuration.
  • To use a particular service configuration in a business process model, you select it in the GPM and define workflow-level parameters there. Workflow parameters are specific to a single invocation of a service configuration. These are passed to the service during a business process execution.

Service Types with Predefined Configurations

Some service types come with a predefined service configuration that is ready to use. This is true for the internal and system services that are used for system performance, monitoring, and maintenance tasks. These service configurations are installed with the product, because they must be in place and ready to perform functions the first time you start the system.

Sometimes, service configurations are provided because it is recommended that you use them rather than creating your own. You should never need to create any other configurations for these service types—the ones provided are designed to be used in multiple business processes. One example is the set of FTP Client services. One configuration of each is provided. Each service performs a particular FTP function, such as PUT, GET, or LIST. You include the services in business processes to use them. These services work with an FTP Client adapter, which performs the actual communication with a remote FTP server (an FTP server outside Sterling B2B Integrator).

Service Types without Predefined Configurations

Some service types do not come with predefined service configurations. This can be because they require additional configuration by the user, or because they will not be needed by all users - for example, the SAP Suite adapter would only be needed by users who will communicate with an SAP server. To use these service types, you must create at least one service configuration.

Service Concepts You Should Know

  • One service type can have many service configurations.
  • Each service configuration must have a unique name, because other Sterling B2B Integrator components and programs identify service configurations by name.
  • Multiple business processes can use the same service configuration.
  • You can create groups of service configurations (of the same service type) that will act as peers. Service groups are used like service configurations in Sterling B2B Integrator, but give you the advantage of being able to balance data loads more effectively by using several services of the same type to handle a particular task, rather than a single service.
  • For a service type to be displayed on a stencil in the GPM, a service configuration must exist for it. So, if a service configuration was not included with Sterling B2B Integrator for a service type you need to use, you must create one.

Special Service Capabilities

Services have the following capabilities, which provide flexibility in managing services:
  • Large file support – The ability for services to handle files larger than available memory. This can be an effective way to help manage load sharing.
  • Service groups – The ability to group “like” services together and treat them as a pool of services
  • Storage types – The ability to select the document storage type for a service, such as Database or File System

Documentation for Individual Services and Adapters

Documentation is provided with the product for individual service and adapter types (except for internal services that are for IBM® use only). Although the content can vary depending on the complexity of the service, it generally includes an overview page, any special instructions for configuration of that service, descriptions of the service parameters, and a sample of how the service is used in a business process. The service documents are available on the documentation library.

Overview of Using a Service

The following process lists the general tasks that you must perform to use a service or adapter. However, because each service is different, you should always read the documentation specific to that service to learn about any unique requirements it may have.
  1. Obtain and install required third-party jar files or drivers, if applicable.
  2. If necessary, create a new configuration of the service.
  3. If necessary, enable the service configuration.
  4. If you are using the service configuration as a part of a business process, complete the following:
    • Use the GPM to create the business process.
    • Check in and enable the business process.
    • Test the business process, including the service configuration, by running it.
    • After testing the business process, set it up to run on a schedule or run it as needed, according to your business requirements.