You buy an ESB because you need one. You implement it because otherwise it doesn’t work. But this doesn’t mean you and your integration tool will live happily ever after. During the implementation period, there are still many things that can weaken the powers of the ESB that you so carefully selected. This stage is exciting too, though, as you get to finetune all the ESB elements and adapt them to your specific needs. In this article, we get you on your way with four ESB implementation tips.
#1. Think about the bigger picture
Congrats! You are now the proud owner of an Enterprise Service Bus. This means you’ll be playing with the big boys of integration and will soon discover the many advantages of smooth data exchange. But before you do anything (anything at all!), we advise you to think about the bigger picture. You bought an ESB to connect applications to one another, but for what purpose? What are your objectives, and how will the ESB help you achieve them? Know that your ESB is a tool rather than a solution, meaning you need a well-defined plan to make your integration plans a success. If your services revolve around a webshop, you have different needs than a governmental organization that tries to enable better communication between departments. Talk to software architects, developers and end-users (all key figures when implementing new software) and create a list of individual connections you want to be made.
#2. Don’t overdo integration
All the new options and technical marvels that come with an ESB probably got your IT heart beat faster. You can’t wait to integrate every application you can possibly find, from the HR system to your beloved coffee machine. But hold on a minute. If we had to give you only one piece of advice, it would be to not overdo integration. When reading about ESB implementation tips, this is probably an unexpected one. But let us explain. There is nothing wrong with excluding applications that only have one purpose and are invoked by just one other application. This helps you save out on maintenance and reduces pressure on your so-called single-point-of-failure. Speaking of overdoing things: take it easy with logging too. Sure, you should be able to tell whether a message came through, but there’s no use in checking whether it left the ESB. It either arrived or it didn’t.
#3. Enable your applications
At the same time, there will be applications that you want to integrate with the ESB but can’t. As you know, many systems were never meant to communicate with other systems, meaning they’ll need extra tools to make integration possible. You probably saw this coming and checked your new integration tools on support options (for web services, for example). Anyway, sometimes you can’t go around the fact that you need a little extra something to enable integration. WSO2 solves this issue with a range of products that you can add to your ESB to integrate cloud services and legacy software. WSO2 DSS, for example, helps you integrate data stores and create composite data views. This way, you can connect every single system within your organization. Even your beloved coffee machine, although we’d advise you not to.
#4. Monitor like your life depends on it
As the title of this article suggests, the implementation period of your ESB has an end date. This is the day where everything is put in place and you can start enjoying all you’ve created. But this day is also the starting point of another very important period that lasts for years. When implemented, the ESB should be monitored, messages should be analyzed and mistakes should be fixed. This is why we advise you to get together a team of developers to take on the monitoring job in the future. Have them keep a close eye on the ESB performance, but also have them create a dashboard that non-technical colleagues can understand. Here, you display the number of transactions, success and failure rates, API request count, and message flows. Schedule meetings regularly, to gather input on improvements and answer questions about what goes where and why. This way, you track both the achievements of the ESB and the people using it.
If you ask us, those four ESB implementation tips will go a long way toward getting your new integration tool to work. As long as you remember to see the bigger picture, leave out useless connections, find a way to connect the essentials, and monitor both the ESB and its users, you have our blessing to get started. Good luck!
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