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What is an Enterprise Service Bus?

The enterprise service bus is a part of the B2B integration space. It’s been around for about 20 years and has become a part of the landscape as soon as it reached the market. However, it’s still unknown for many business owners. Most of them don’t know how it came about, what it offers, and why they need it.

Keep reading, and we’ll help you understand what the enterprise service bus is, how it came to be, what it does, and how it integrates with the B2B-model. Let’s start with the basics first.

What Is an Enterprise Service Bus?

The enterprise service bus, or ESB as it’s also known, is a type of software architecture designed to allow full integration of multiple enterprise applications and services into one unified platform. Think of it as an internet router that connects devices and will enable them to exchange information with one another. But instead of devices, it connects enterprise applications allowing businesses to integrate all of their solutions into one working tool.

All of the elements of the enterprise bus interact and communicate with each other. That includes all actions such as data transfers and message exchange within the existing platform. ESB allows you to manage an internal message system that provides routing, translation, and data transformation. In other words, it will enable you to transform messages into a format that can be interpreted, changed, and executed using one universal engine.

How ESB Evolved

Service-oriented architecture became popular at the beginning of the 21st century. Many companies and organizations build their entire systems upon SOA. As web services became the most critical factor in software implementation, ESB was a needed solution that allows seamless integration within the existing architecture. 

It was designed to make the integration process as simple as possible, which is why it became the go-to solution for improving business functionality.  It’s a highly-agile solution that reduces the time needed to introduce new elements into existing IT infrastructure. Not only that, it can optimize your existing systems and allow you to get more out of the applications that are already in use.

ESB and SOA

As we already mentioned, SOA or service-oriented architecture was already in use by the end of the 1990s. It offered a new way businesses could use to reuse their existing software in new applications. SOA is ESBs predecessor that also aimed to help simplify deep application integration.

It allowed practices such as checking customer credit scores, processing mortgage applications and calculating loan payments using a new code and a different data integration approach. Users can use SOA to expose protocols such as SOAP and HTTP to send and receive data. 

In order to make use of these services, businesses had to create new applications by exposing functions from existing systems. That’s where ESB jumps into play. Most legacy systems use old protocols to read, translate, and integrate applications into the SOA protocols. The role of ESB is to speed up the integration process without needing to develop their own integrations. In other words, it’s a solution that provides integration but requires far less maintenance.

What Benefits Does ESB Provide?

In simple terms, ESB provides standardized integration of services and communication between all enterprise elements. You need only one team to manage everything, develop new solutions, and integrate them into the existing system. 

Only one protocol is needed to communicate with the ESB and give out commands that navigate all future integrations allowing services to communicate with each other. ESB only has to scan and translate the commands, ensure that all messages are sent to the right elements, and execute commands. That means that developers don’t have to do everything manually, which allows them to focus on configuration and perfecting the applications. That leads to higher productivity and better efficiency.

However, some organizations may experience a bottleneck in SOA deployment after integrating it with ESB services. One simple change can destabilize other components because ESB takes care of one integration at a time. It’s a centrally managed system that can’t cope with multiple integrations at once. That has led to growing expenses and substantial technical challenges.

The work needed to maintain, update and scale ESB has proven to be too much for many organizations. They had to first go through the slow integration process that has a negative effect on innovation. Pandio offers another innovative way of allowing software integrations built on Apache Pulsar. It offers a different approach that includes AI, machine learning, and big data, providing exceptional results quickly and effectively.

ESB VS Microservices

Microservices are ESB’s biggest nemesis as it allows single application integration faster by breaking it down into smaller pieces that are easier to manage. It became popular due to the rising need for virtualization, DevOps, and cloud computing. Here’s a quick overview of the benefits microservices provide:

  • Better developer agility and productivity – Microservices allow developers to quickly implement new technologies into a single application feature without affecting the rest of the application.
  • Simpler scalability – This is because it allows scaling of individual components without affecting others. That allows the fastest response to and an efficient way of using existing computing resources.
  • Resilience – Whenever a component fails, it won’t affect other components, providing your systems with greater resilience and more breathing room if something goes wrong. 

Microservices can fully break up the ESB to decentralize it and allow single component integration. Your application teams can then address each component independently without affecting the entire system.

The Bottom Line

ESB was a much-needed improvement over the existing SOA integration services available before the 21st century. However, with new technologies arriving on the market every year, SOA wasn’t efficient enough to allow quick integrations and application implementation into existing services.

That’s what led to the invention of ESB, which offered a considerable improvement over SOA. It simplified implementation to the point where developers could focus more on improving features rather than making them work together. Microservices have improved the practice even further by separating integration of components allowing better results, easier scalability, and resilience. 

Without SOA, ESB would never come to be, and without it, microservices would never be developed in the first place. In other words, ESB was a turning point in software component integration that changed the way businesses operate forever.

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