Welcome!

Microsoft Cloud Authors: Elizabeth White, Mihai Corbuleac, Pat Romanski, David Bermingham, Steven Mandel

Related Topics: Microsoft Cloud

Microsoft Cloud: Article

Goodbye Hub-and-Spoke, Hello ESB? Integration Architecture With BizTalk 2004

The popularity of the hub-and-spoke architecture, the traditional model for enterprise application integration (EAI), is declini

BizTalk Server is often positioned as a means to create a hub-and-spoke architecture. However, the popularity of the hub-and-spoke architecture, the traditional model for enterprise application integration (EAI), is declining. More and more architects and CIOs are targeting SOA (service-oriented architecture), and its infrastructural incarnation: the enterprise service bus (ESB). Does BizTalk fit into this ESB picture?

Integration Architecture
Trends and hype like SOA, EDA (event-driven architecture), and BPM (business process management) put integration on top of the list for most CIOs and IT managers. While all these trends hold assumptions about the ideal architecture for distributed computing, the differences in architectural approaches are not as clear to decision makers. Add that to the rapid changes evolving in the Microsoft platform, and it is easy to see that BizTalk Server 2004 can be positioned in different ways in your integration architecture.

In this article we are going to look at two different approaches for integration architecture, and we will see how BizTalk Server 2004 fits into these concepts.

Hub-and-Spoke Architecture
The first dominant integration architecture that broke with the cumbersome point-to-point application integration model was the so-called hub-and-spoke architecture, often referred to as "message broker."

Hub-and-spoke architectures consist of a centralized hub that accepts requests from multiple applications that are connected to the centralized hub as spokes. The spokes are connected with the central hub through lightweight connectors, which are constructed and deployed on top of existing systems and applications. One of the key goals of the hub-and-spoke architecture with connectors is to leave the current systems untouched and unchanged as much as possible.

Inside the hub there are capabilities for requirements such as message transformation, validation, routing, and asynchronous message delivery. Furthermore, most hub-and-spoke-based EAI solutions provide process management functionality to orchestrate interapplication message exchanges, and an administration console to monitor and track the workings of the hub.

See Figure 1

This integration architecture is the more traditional approach to connecting systems, and has been widely adopted because of its strengths:

  • It provides a focal point for applications and reduces the links between applications from n² links to n links
  • The hub provides a layer of insulation and functionality between the spokes, thus enabling spoke applications to be removed and replaced without other spokes being disrupted in any way
  • Because of this simplification of connecting applications, the model offers lower total cost of ownership
Despite its indisputable advantages and merits, hub-and-spoke models are not as popular as they used to be. One major problem is that the centralized hub presents a single point of failure in the overall architecture. If the central hub goes down, not a single message can still be sent or received. Attempts to overcome this problem by clustering multiple implementations of the hub are often stranded on the complexity of the architecture and on the overhead in administration.

Another important reason for this decline is that most hub-and-spoke-based EAI products are monolithic, expensive systems (especially when multiple implementations are deployed), based on proprietary standards. With the emergence of SOA, which is heavily based on open standards and loosely coupled, constituent services, the time has come for a new dominant integration architecture: the enterprise service bus.

The ESB Architecture
The ESB is often characterized as the backbone upon which to build SOA. There are numerous articles and white papers about the ESB, and they all have the following elements in common when describing what the ESB is: an ESB is seen as a distributed services architecture based on Web services standards, which delivers messaging middleware, intelligent routing, and XML transformation in conjunction with a flexible security framework and a management infrastructure for configuring, deploying, and monitoring the services. A typical ESB architecture looks somewhat like Figure 2.

At the heart of the ESB architecture is the enterprise services bus, a collection of middleware services that provides integration capabilities. Applications are connected to this logical bus through smart connectors, which encapsulate system functionality and provide a layer of abstraction between bus and application. In this smart connector we may find typical capabilities such as transformation services and security services. Through the use of open communication standards, connectivity between bus and applications is established.

The aforementioned description points out that an ESB is more a logical concept than it is a product. There are some vendors claiming that ESB is a product, but this perception comes more from a traditional view of integration architecture, which is based on products instead of standards.

One way or another, experts and analysts unanimously agree that for those companies and organizations pursuing an SOA or an EDA, the shift towards an ESB-based infrastructure is a major step in this evolvement.

Hub-and-Spoke vs ESB
An ESB provides the same functionality as a "traditional" broker in a hub-and-spoke architecture. The pictures we have seen of both the hub-and-spoke architecture and the ESB architecture are also very much alike. The key difference however is that the capabilities in an ESB are themselves SOA-based, since they are spread out across the bus in a distributed fashion, and the capabilities are hosted in separately deployable service containers. This is a fundamental difference in architecture.

The distributed nature of the ESB Services allows for the selective deployment of integration broker functionality exactly where you need it, with no additional overbloating where it's not needed. The ESB container model allows for the independent scalability of integration components, which are plugged into your SOA as event-driven services on an as-needed basis.

More Stories By Loek Bakker

Loek Bakker is a senior consultant at Capgemini, the Netherlands. He specializes in architecture, SOA, and Microsoft.NET. Within Capgemini he is a lead architect for BizTalk-based integration solutions.

Comments (1) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
.NET News Desk 09/12/05 05:06:21 PM EDT

Goodbye Hub-and-Spoke, Hello ESB? Integration Architecture With BizTalk 2004. BizTalk Server is often positioned as a means to create a hub-and-spoke architecture. However, the popularity of the hub-and-spoke architecture, the traditional model for enterprise application integration (EAI), is declining. More and more architects and CIOs are targeting SOA (service-oriented architecture), and its infrastructural incarnation: the enterprise service bus (ESB). Does BizTalk fit into this ESB picture?

@ThingsExpo Stories
So, you bought into the current machine learning craze and went on to collect millions/billions of records from this promising new data source. Now, what do you do with them? Too often, the abundance of data quickly turns into an abundance of problems. How do you extract that "magic essence" from your data without falling into the common pitfalls? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Natalia Ponomareva, Software Engineer at Google, will provide tips on how to be successful in large scale machine lear...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Peak 10, Inc., a national IT infrastructure and cloud services provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Peak 10 provides reliable, tailored data center and network services, cloud and managed services. Its solutions are designed to scale and adapt to customers’ changing business needs, enabling them to lower costs, improve performance and focus inter...
Angular 2 is a complete re-write of the popular framework AngularJS. Programming in Angular 2 is greatly simplified – now it's a component-based well-performing framework. This immersive one-day workshop at 18th Cloud Expo, led by Yakov Fain, a Java Champion and a co-founder of the IT consultancy Farata Systems and the product company SuranceBay, will provide you with everything you wanted to know about Angular 2.
You think you know what’s in your data. But do you? Most organizations are now aware of the business intelligence represented by their data. Data science stands to take this to a level you never thought of – literally. The techniques of data science, when used with the capabilities of Big Data technologies, can make connections you had not yet imagined, helping you discover new insights and ask new questions of your data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sarbjit Sarkaria, data science team lead ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Men & Mice, the leading global provider of DNS, DHCP and IP address management overlay solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. The Men & Mice Suite overlay solution is already known for its powerful application in heterogeneous operating environments, enabling enterprises to scale without fuss. Building on a solid range of diverse platform support,...
You deployed your app with the Bluemix PaaS and it's gaining some serious traction, so it's time to make some tweaks. Did you design your application in a way that it can scale in the cloud? Were you even thinking about the cloud when you built the app? If not, chances are your app is going to break. Check out this webcast to learn various techniques for designing applications that will scale successfully in Bluemix, for the confidence you need to take your apps to the next level and beyond.
We’ve worked with dozens of early adopters across numerous industries and will debunk common misperceptions, which starts with understanding that many of the connected products we’ll use over the next 5 years are already products, they’re just not yet connected. With an IoT product, time-in-market provides much more essential feedback than ever before. Innovation comes from what you do with the data that the connected product provides in order to enhance the customer experience and optimize busi...
Increasing IoT connectivity is forcing enterprises to find elegant solutions to organize and visualize all incoming data from these connected devices with re-configurable dashboard widgets to effectively allow rapid decision-making for everything from immediate actions in tactical situations to strategic analysis and reporting. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Shikhir Singh, Senior Developer Relations Manager at Sencha, will discuss how to create HTML5 dashboards that interact with IoT devic...
Artificial Intelligence has the potential to massively disrupt IoT. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, AJ Abdallat, CEO of Beyond AI, will discuss what the five main drivers are in Artificial Intelligence that could shape the future of the Internet of Things. AJ Abdallat is CEO of Beyond AI. He has over 20 years of management experience in the fields of artificial intelligence, sensors, instruments, devices and software for telecommunications, life sciences, environmental monitoring, process...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ericsson has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Ericsson is a world leader in the rapidly changing environment of communications technology – providing equipment, software and services to enable transformation through mobility. Some 40 percent of global mobile traffic runs through networks we have supplied. More than 1 billion subscribers around the world re...
Digital payments using wearable devices such as smart watches, fitness trackers, and payment wristbands are an increasing area of focus for industry participants, and consumer acceptance from early trials and deployments has encouraged some of the biggest names in technology and banking to continue their push to drive growth in this nascent market. Wearable payment systems may utilize near field communication (NFC), radio frequency identification (RFID), or quick response (QR) codes and barcodes...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Fusion, a leading provider of cloud services, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Fusion, a leading provider of integrated cloud solutions to small, medium and large businesses, is the industry's single source for the cloud. Fusion's advanced, proprietary cloud service platform enables the integration of leading edge solutions in the cloud, including cloud...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Klein, CEO and Co-founder of Rachio, will discuss next generation communities that are using IoT to create more sustainable, intelligent communities. One example is Sterling Ranch, a 10,000 home development that – with the help of Siemens – will integrate IoT technology into the community to provide residents with energy and water savings as well as intelligent security. Everything from stop lights to sprinkler systems to building infrastructures will run ef...
SYS-CON Events announced today that DatacenterDynamics has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. DatacenterDynamics is a brand of DCD Group, a global B2B media and publishing company that develops products to help senior professionals in the world's most ICT dependent organizations make risk-based infrastructure and capacity decisions.
The IoT has the potential to create a renaissance of manufacturing in the US and elsewhere. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Florent Solt, CTO and chief architect of Netvibes, will discuss how the expected exponential increase in the amount of data that will be processed, transported, stored, and accessed means there will be a huge demand for smart technologies to deliver it. Florent Solt is the CTO and chief architect of Netvibes. Prior to joining Netvibes in 2007, he co-founded Rift Technol...
Join IBM June 8 at 18th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn how to innovate like a startup and scale for the enterprise. You need to deliver quality applications faster and cheaper, attract and retain customers with an engaging experience across devices, and seamlessly integrate your enterprise systems. And you can't take 12 months to do it.
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, will discuss how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to im...
This is not a small hotel event. It is also not a big vendor party where politicians and entertainers are more important than real content. This is Cloud Expo, the world's longest-running conference and exhibition focused on Cloud Computing and all that it entails. If you want serious presentations and valuable insight about Cloud Computing for three straight days, then register now for Cloud Expo.
IoT device adoption is growing at staggering rates, and with it comes opportunity for developers to meet consumer demand for an ever more connected world. Wireless communication is the key part of the encompassing components of any IoT device. Wireless connectivity enhances the device utility at the expense of ease of use and deployment challenges. Since connectivity is fundamental for IoT device development, engineers must understand how to overcome the hurdles inherent in incorporating multipl...
The IETF draft standard for M2M certificates is a security solution specifically designed for the demanding needs of IoT/M2M applications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Brian Romansky, VP of Strategic Technology at TrustPoint Innovation, will explain how M2M certificates can efficiently enable confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity on highly constrained devices.