Many companies are still deploying Enterprise Application Integration (EAI), with proprietary adapters and integration servers. However, for a Master Data Management (MDM) solution, we recommend a Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) approach for integration between the hub and source systems using web services.
A typical web server provides Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), so Web browsers can receive pages from a web site.
Application servers provide the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) interface and host the web services. The web services also provide object components, which provide the business service layer above the applications.
The development time for SOA-based MDM integration will depend on the number of business entities to be exchanged, the availability of a vendor-supplied Software Development Kit for the Web Services Definition Language (WSDL), the complexity of the applications to be integrated and the number of Web services to ultimately be deployed.
Some guidelines for developing an SOA integration for an MDM hub are:
- Use XML (eXtensible Markup Language) for all data exchange (XML is a language that provides a standard way of representing data and information).
- Use UDDI (Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration) for listing and locating applications. UDDI is a directory standard that is provided by some application tools as a built-in service to use during integration.
- The WSDL (Web Services Description Language) file should be obtained from the source system to which data needs to be sent or retrieved. WSDL is a “descriptor standard” that an application uses to describe its interface and interaction rules to other applications. WSDL is a document written in XML which describes a Web service. It specifies the location of the service and the operations (or methods) the service provides.
- WSDL should be leveraged with the help of proprietary tools provided for each application to generate the XML message required to meet that data structure.
Currently, some of the Master Data Management platforms (such as Siperian, Initiate Systems, Oracle and IBM) provide excellent SOA libraries of web services.
With some work by the end customer, these products can provide a standard set of data services at the application level. We believe this approach ultimately will give you more flexibility and adaptability than EAI-based integration.