zaterdag 9 juni 2007

The start of a project

Normally I use Outlook if I want to organise my thoughts: I open a new email and I start writing stuff. The email is never sent to anybody, it just sits in my 'drafts' folder. Opening a new mail in outlook is the quickest way to get a window on my desktop where I can simply write some stuff.

Now I want to organise my thoughts on a bigger scale. I don't expect to come to the answer to my question in a week or to, and I don't want to use a steadily growing mail message. Also, I would like to be able to work on this at home and in the office. Finally, I would like my colleagues and whoever else is interested, to join in. This is a project, and everybody is welcome to join in.

So what is the project about?

Enterprise Application Integration

Let me set the scene:

I work in the IT department of a fairly big Telecom company. We have a lot of IT and network systems, and they are all connected together. In order to make things easier for us, we have implemented an 'enterprise service bus' (ESB). This ESB is based on a couple of products, in particular Tibco messaging middleware. However, there are many ways to use these products, and gradually some standards have evolved.

The more I think about our solutions, the more confused I get. I expect to explain more about this later on, but to give you an example: everybody always pictures the 'ESB' as a tube.

The picture looks as if lots of Tibco messages are traveling between the machines. However, if you look a little bit closer, you find out that this is not the case at all. In reality our configuration is more like a star, or a hub. In the middle you find a powerful machine that runs all the Tibco stuff, and all other systems are connected to this using all kinds of protocols - most of the time not Tibco based. The Tibco machine acts like a hub.

Why is it like this? Is it right?

I will try to find answers for myself to questions like this. I think I should start by finding out what it is exactly that we are trying to achieve with Enterprise Application Integration.