Accelerating cloud-based enterprise service bus (ESB) implementation

The challenge

A global energy company relies upon thousands of integrations to provide services to every part of the organisation. To transition from this resource-hungry model, the organisation was exploring the best way to implement an enterprise service bus that would provide a common platform for shared services.  

 The organisation wanted to create a roadmap for a cloud-based Integration Hub, which would provide a centralised repository of common code and expensive resources to encourage reuse rather than reinvention.  

 The enterprise uses both Microsoft Azure and Amazon AWS. Therefore, the brief stipulated that proposed solutions must be usable within a composite cloud environment. 

Enterprise objectives for the Integration Hub

  • To decrease the friction of integration development through reuse of common code and implementation of configurable OSS frameworks that avoid duplication of work and deliver economies of scale.  
  • To lower the cost of integration runtime, by providing shareable versions of expensive resources. 
  • To provide leadership and guidance on integration patterns, through documentation, templates and training. 
  • To improve security and compliance of developed applications, through the provision of common patterns and methodologies. 

The 345 Technology process

The timeframe for completing the consultancy phase was ten weeks. 

 Using its experience of planning and implementing enterprise transformation projects in the energy, oil & gas, banking and media sectors, 345 divided the project into eight pillars. A half day workshop was set up to address each pillar:  

  1. Security and compliance – provided guidance on ensuring that integration assets and resources are secure by design; and that common, shared resources are already secured. 
  2. Discoverability – recommended how best to provide a registry of common schemas, contracts and APIs and a mechanism by which teams could discover reusable integration APIs. 
  3. Observability – reviewed mechanisms for observing and documenting resources and maintaining an ownership list of integration resources and the teams using them. 
  4. Governance – provided guidance on how best to provide data and metrics to governance teams to help meet requirements. 
  5. Monitoring – provided guidance on monitoring configuration via implementation on common resources to allow for centralised alerting and reports. 
  6. Messaging – examined the cloud-based platforms that would support publish subscribe messaging, event-driven messaging and streaming messaging within the Integrated Hub. 
  7. Integration Orchestration – evaluated the various configurable orchestration frameworks, connectors and processing engines available to the enterprise. 
  8. Hosting – assessed the potential integration platform as a service (iPaaS) and containers that could be implemented by the enterprise, and what needed to be considered to ensure that the selected hosting service delivers enterprise-level resilience. 
Accelerating cloud-based ESB Implementation

Each workshop was attended by a core team of IT professionals from the energy company along with three or four of their colleagues from the security department, risk and compliance, or financial operations.  

 During each workshop 345 worked with the energy company’s employees to capture performance metrics and diagnose issues.  

By listening to the customer, focusing on what the group needed to discuss and extensively reviewing the outcome of each of the workshops, the teams came away with deliverable options that were ready for selection.  

Benefits

During each of the workshops the energy company employees were able to ask operational questions and 345 was able to discuss a scenario, based on its work with similarly sized enterprises in the energy sector and financial sector, and show the resolutions and outcomes. This allowed the employees to identify where the other organisations’ issues matched their own so that they could quickly see how the suggested solutions and architecture could deliver the desired performance. In this way, 345 Technology acted as an accelerator for the Integration Hub initiative.  

 345 Technology is accustomed to developing and rigorously testing enterprise solutions that can scale enormously. We showed that, although a solution capable of moving data from A to B could be developed in two days, once it goes into production and a hundred processes call on it concurrently, it would fail. We know that cloud technology is particularly susceptible to this type of problem because it is designed to be easily accessible and cheap to run initially. Our experience and expertise in developing enterprise scale solutions allowed us to illustrate the costs that need to be taken into consideration when the enterprise is investing in premium units and functionality, which initially are a lot more expensive to own per month. However, once the Integration Hub is operational, premium units will save the organization a significant amount of money in comparison to a per usage model.  

 During the consultancy phase 345 advised on FinOps considerations such as site cost density. Knowing how to design the enterprise-level service bus so that it can scale to support the entire enterprise without ballooning costs has accelerated the energy company’s development of a solution that will scale reliably, with predictable costs.  

 The observability workshop discussed issues around performance monitoring. We made recommendations on effective dashboards that will allow the enterprise to plan and provide usable metrics.   

Accelerating the initiative

345 Technology delivered a comprehensive strategy document that made recommendations on best practices to address identified issues. This also outlined the technical architecture that would enable the enterprise to successfully integrate its services and provide a cloud-based Integration Hub. 

 We provided the customer with a high-quality delivery sequence that will maximise access to services across a broad spectrum of the enterprise’s global technology consumers. 

 Following delivery of the strategy document and technical architecture, 345 Technology handed control of the project back to Microsoft. 

Outcomes

345 Technology provided the customer with a clear framework for developing, deploying and maintaining integration applications in Microsoft Azure and other Cloud platforms.  

 By following our sequential approach, along with phase reviews which inform the planning of the next implementation phase, the organisation can accelerate the successful launch of its enterprise Integration Hub.   

 The project has initiated regular meetings between architecture, security, governance, integration, support and operational teams, where current and upcoming projects are assessed to understand their impact on the Integration Hub, to ensure that resources are securely shared, costs are accurately predicted and successfully managed.  

 In doing these, our client’s new Integration Hub sustainably serves their entire global enterprise. 

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