Welcome!

Microsoft Cloud Authors: Janakiram MSV, Pat Romanski, Steven Mandel, John Basso, Liz McMillan

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
Almost two-thirds of companies either have or soon will have IoT as the backbone of their business in 2016. However, IoT is far more complex than most firms expected. How can you not get trapped in the pitfalls? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tony Shan, a renowned visionary and thought leader, will introduce a holistic method of IoTification, which is the process of IoTifying the existing technology and business models to adopt and leverage IoT. He will drill down to the components in this fra...
Data is an unusual currency; it is not restricted by the same transactional limitations as money or people. In fact, the more that you leverage your data across multiple business use cases, the more valuable it becomes to the organization. And the same can be said about the organization’s analytics. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bill Schmarzo, CTO for the Big Data Practice at EMC, will introduce a methodology for capturing, enriching and sharing data (and analytics) across the organizati...
Why do your mobile transformations need to happen today? Mobile is the strategy that enterprise transformation centers on to drive customer engagement. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Roger Woods, Director, Mobile Product & Strategy – Adobe Marketing Cloud, covered key IoT and mobile trends that are forcing mobile transformation, key components of a solid mobile strategy and explored how brands are effectively driving mobile change throughout the enterprise.
With so much going on in this space you could be forgiven for thinking you were always working with yesterday’s technologies. So much change, so quickly. What do you do if you have to build a solution from the ground up that is expected to live in the field for at least 5-10 years? This is the challenge we faced when we looked to refresh our existing 10-year-old custom hardware stack to measure the fullness of trash cans and compactors.
The emerging Internet of Everything creates tremendous new opportunities for customer engagement and business model innovation. However, enterprises must overcome a number of critical challenges to bring these new solutions to market. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Martin, CTO/CIO at nfrastructure, outlined these key challenges and recommended approaches for overcoming them to achieve speed and agility in the design, development and implementation of Internet of Everything solutions wi...
Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is expected in the amount of information being processed, managed, analyzed, and acted upon by enterprise IT. This amazing is not part of some distant future - it is happening today. One report shows a 650% increase in enterprise data by 2020. Other estimates are even higher....
Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more business becomes digital the more stakeholders are interested in this data including how it relates to business. Some of these people have never used a monitoring tool before. They have a question on their mind like “How is my application doing” but no id...
Smart Cities are here to stay, but for their promise to be delivered, the data they produce must not be put in new siloes. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mathias Herberts, Co-founder and CTO of Cityzen Data, will deep dive into best practices that will ensure a successful smart city journey.
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long dev...
Identity is in everything and customers are looking to their providers to ensure the security of their identities, transactions and data. With the increased reliance on cloud-based services, service providers must build security and trust into their offerings, adding value to customers and improving the user experience. Making identity, security and privacy easy for customers provides a unique advantage over the competition.
SYS-CON Events announced today that 910Telecom will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Housed in the classic Denver Gas & Electric Building, 910 15th St., 910Telecom is a carrier-neutral telecom hotel located in the heart of Denver. Adjacent to CenturyLink, AT&T, and Denver Main, 910Telecom offers connectivity to all major carriers, Internet service providers, Internet backbones and ...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - comp...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
There is growing need for data-driven applications and the need for digital platforms to build these apps. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Muddu Sudhakar, VP and GM of Security & IoT at Splunk, will cover different PaaS solutions and Big Data platforms that are available to build applications. In addition, AI and machine learning are creating new requirements that developers need in the building of next-gen apps. The next-generation digital platforms have some of the past platform needs a...
19th Cloud Expo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterpri...
SYS-CON Events announced today Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
Pulzze Systems was happy to participate in such a premier event and thankful to be receiving the winning investment and global network support from G-Startup Worldwide. It is an exciting time for Pulzze to showcase the effectiveness of innovative technologies and enable them to make the world smarter and better. The reputable contest is held to identify promising startups around the globe that are assured to change the world through their innovative products and disruptive technologies. There w...
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportuni...
I wanted to gather all of my Internet of Things (IOT) blogs into a single blog (that I could later use with my University of San Francisco (USF) Big Data “MBA” course). However as I started to pull these blogs together, I realized that my IOT discussion lacked a vision; it lacked an end point towards which an organization could drive their IOT envisioning, proof of value, app dev, data engineering and data science efforts. And I think that the IOT end point is really quite simple…
Personalization has long been the holy grail of marketing. Simply stated, communicate the most relevant offer to the right person and you will increase sales. To achieve this, you must understand the individual. Consequently, digital marketers developed many ways to gather and leverage customer information to deliver targeted experiences. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lou Casal, Founder and Principal Consultant at Practicala, discussed how the Internet of Things (IoT) has accelerated our abil...