Solve Integration Problems

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By definition, enterprise integration has to deal with multiple applications running on multiple platforms in different locations, making the term ‘simple integration’ pretty much an oxymoron.

Software vendors offer EAI suites that provide cross-platform, cross-language integration as well as the ability to interface with many popular packaged business applications.

As we design the solution to this example, we will express the solution using the patterns contained in this book.

At the end of this chapter you will be familiar with about two dozen integration patterns.

Enterprises are typically comprised of hundreds if not thousands of applications that are custom-built, acquired from a third-party, part of a legacy system, or a combination thereof, operating in multiple tiers of different operating system platforms.

It is not uncommon to find an enterprise that has 30 different Websites, three instances of SAP and countless departmental solutions.Vendors have learned to cater to this preference and offer focused applications around a specific core function.However, the ever-present urge to add new functionality to existing software packages has caused some functionality spillover amongst packaged business applications.However, this technical infrastructure presents only a small portion of the integration complexities.The true challenges of integration span far across business and technical issues. There are no simple answers for enterprise integration.The reality, though, is that even the heavyweights like SAP, Oracle, Peoplesoft and the like only perform a fraction of the business functions required in a typical enterprise.We can see this easily by the fact that ERP systems are one of the most popular integration points in today’s enterprises.In many enterprises, this simple request can span across the customer care and billing systems.Likewise, a customer placing a new order may require the coordination of many systems.The business needs to validate the customer ID, verify the customer’s good standing, check inventory, fulfill the order, get a shipping quote, compute sales tax, send a bill, etc.This process can easily span across five or six different systems.

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