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EA Technology August 9, 2012

Posted by brltkd in Enterprise Architecture.

There are many technologies available that organizations can use to support their processes and facilitate the efficient use of data. It is important to use standards derived from the businesses strategic goals in both data storage and application development. The specific technology implemented will depend on the organizational structure and the level of development of the systems.

Many companies require the same data for the processes that are performed throughout the enterprise. It is advantageous for these organizations to use a common database to store their information. An example of this type of approach is an electronic medical record system. Medical organizations can vary greatly. There are inpatient units, emergency departments, operating centers, ambulatory clinics, and numerous specialty areas. Each has their own unique processes but they all depend on the information stored in the patient’s chart. Having this information stored in a common database used in all areas makes it immediately accessible to anyone that needs it and in a context specific to their position which improves the overall operation of the organization.

When multiple systems are required to support processes, there must be a method for them to communicate. One technology available to link these applications is the Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA). This architecture allows distributed objects to communicate via an Object Request Broker (ORB) which receives the request from the client, sends it to the object, waits for the results, and returns them to the client [1]. Since CORBA can be implements using a wide array of programming languages it could be beneficial where communication with legacy systems is necessary. Interfaces could be implemented to allow interaction from other systems without the needing to design the applications.

Another technology that facilitates communication between applications is service oriented architecture (SOA). This is a framework for developing applications in pieces where each performs a specific function. One of the important principals of SOA is reusability. A single service can be developed to implement a specific business function. For example, a service that provides contact information for a customer may be developed. Then any application throughout the organization that needs customer information can make use of that service to retrieve the information. SOA helps reduce application development time as well since the main logic defining a process or data access is encapsulated in the service. This allows the developer to focus on the application logic instead.

Web services are an implementation of SOA. A web service is a software system designed to support interoperable machine-to-machine interaction over a network [2]. Services are published on the organizations web server and may allow both internal and external use. Web services are popular for interaction with social media sites like Facebook. Facebook provides services that websites use to pull information from the user’s profile. This allows websites to customize their page based on unique information the user has entered in their profile.

An Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) is a key enabler in implementing the infrastructure for an SOA [3]. It provides support for interaction between heterogeneous services and addresses integration problems that maximize the re-use of services and maintains flexibility [3]. The ESB can combine multiple services as well as other communications protocols like CORBA to provide a single method for communication. All applications communicate via the ESB. It provides the flexibility for disparate systems to work together in a standard manner. This would be valuable in the organization models that want to ensure process standardization.

The exact technology used by an organization will depend on their requirements. There are a lot of options available that can support their enterprise architecture. A shared data source is essential for data integration across the company. Technologies such as service based architectures help ensure standard processes are used to both access and manipulate data.


[1] jGuru.com, “Introduction to CORBA,” Oracle, 2012. [Online]. Available: http://java.sun.com/developer/onlineTraining/corba/corba.html. [Accessed 6 August 2012].
[2] W3C, “Web Services Architecture,” 11 February 2004. [Online]. Available: http://www.w3.org/TR/ws-arch/. [Accessed 23 July 2012].
[3] Microsoft, “Microsoft BizTalk Server ESB Guidance,” Microsoft, 2012. [Online]. Available: http://www.microsoft.com/biztalk/en/us/esb-guidance.aspx. [Accessed 9 August 2012].





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