On the 1st October 2009, I participated in a webinar “The Right Way to Do Data Integration for Applications,” hosted by David S. Linthicum, a recognized expert in SOA, Cloud computing and Enterprise Application Integration. It was an event that was very well attended and generated a lot of interest from the attendees judging by the large number and quality of questions that were submitted. I recommend that you listen to the replay and download the associated white paper he wrote on that subject.
David covered some of the limitations he has encountered over the years with the way Enterprise Integration Application (EAI) and Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) technologies deal with the integration of data, deployed in a SOA initiative.
I found the content covered by Dave to be very interesting as it fully related to some of the real-world experience I had gained over the years working with customers. Based on my experience, EAI and ESB technologies typically manage process integration and transactional event-based message movements in a publish/subscribe environment. But when it comes to the manipulation of the data itself, these technologies quickly reach their limits leading to a hand coded approach or at best, abusing the capabilities of the EAI/ESB.
Fortunately enough, some of these companies were able to leverage the data integration capabilities of the Informatica Platform to enable a number of key capabilities that were missing in EAI/ESB.
Here are the key capabilities that the Informatica Platform can seamlessly address with respect to the limitations of EAI/ESB:Bulk data movement scalability
Rich metadata capabilities
Set-oriented data transformations
Non-intrusive database transaction detections
Ease of deployment and modification
These valuable capabilities, from an IT perspective, provide immediate return on investment to the SOA initiative by providing the right way to enable data integration development and reduce the costs of maintenance.
But it is the second round of capabilities that brings the most value. EAI or ESB technologies are meant to propagate transactions over queues in the quickest way possible. In other words, if the data associated with a transaction is corrupt, then this same corrupt data will get propagated to all the applications, having significant impact to the business process.
The Informatica Platform can provide a data quality firewall to the company, ensuring that corrupted information does not enter the business transactions. Or, it can provide data quality checks as a service to the applications (also known as Data Quality point of entry) so that the information is verified in the earliest step of the process.
Finally, all these data integration patterns such as bulk processing, transaction capture, set-oriented transformations, or data quality certification can all be delivered as a standards-based service to the EAI/ESB. This is a great starting point for implementing a data services foundation in an SOA strategy.
I strongly recommend you take a look at this webinar.