Enterprise Application Integration (EAI)

Service Description

A common requirement for projects at the University is to interface data between different applications. Integrations can provide opportunities for receiving new and updated data in a near real-time manner, as well as, provide the ability to query data with minimal interdependencies between systems. AITS has adopted various methods for integration including OpenEAI methodology, some Web Services, and batch processing. Many integration projects interface data between external systems and Banner, which is the University’s authoritative source for most Enterprise data, which include students, faculty, and staff. The framework is flexible enough to integrate data between any systems. Integrations allow data to flow from one system to another, and allow systems to stay synchronized; this improves data timeliness and quality, and avoids redundancy in data maintenance.

The main components of this service include:

1. Working with the various departments to analyze and define the data integration needs and developing plans for utilizing the Enterprise infrastructure to fulfill business needs.
2. Host and provide operational support for all middle tier infrastructure to allow flexible but controlled flow of data to fulfill the various departmental and enterprise business needs. This infrastructure includes:

  • OpenEAI services described the OpenEAI Integration Strategy below
  • Application and Web servers including Apache, Tomcat, Oracle Application Servers, Microsoft IIS, Sonic Broker servers, etc.
  • Automic's Applications Manager for batch and business process scheduling
  • Subversion for code tracking and deployment

3. Host and/or provide operational support for in-house developed applications and integration components to support the needs of the various departmental and enterprise business needs
4. 24/7 monitoring and surveillance services to provide highly available systems
5. 24/7 service desk to provide continuous costumer care services
6. Redundant, distributed architectures are utilized where supported to keep the highest availability to end users

OpenEAI Integration Strategy:

Enterprise Objects have been defined and are in use at the University of Illinois to allow applications to request changes to enterprise data, and to communicate changes of enterprise data to other applications. An Enterprise Object is a structured collection of related data elements, usually implemented as an XML document, that is used to synchronize, update, add, delete or query enterprise data. The definition of an enterprise object should be independent of any individual system. They are defined as a common language for different systems to use when sharing information. See Enterprise Objects for details, sample objects, and definitions.

The OpenEAI deployment environment consists of the following services:

  • Logging service – stores content and endpoint information for all synchronization messages sent in the enterprise
  • Routing – delivers messages to defined endpoints based on the content of the message
  • Proxy – validates that requests for enterprise data are sent from valid sources
  • Transformation – transforms and enhances the format and content of messages from the source system to the target system

These services deployed on JMS compliant brokers (e.g. Sonic MQ) and the configuration elements applications need to use these services. Integrations leverage existing components as much as possible to reduce development effort and to take advantage of fully tested components. Shared components are centrally deployed so they can be accessed by all applications via controlled security policies. The applications which are part of an application can be deployed in the AITS Data Center or remotely on a department’s servers.

Hours of Availability

This service is available to customers 24/7, excluding planned outages, maintenance windows and unavoidable events. Maintenance windows are used only when needed for planned changes that have gone through the AITS Change Control Process. In addition to the standard AITS maintenance windows, site-specific and service-specific changes may be coordinated with customers at non-standard times.

Standard maintenance windows are defined as:

  • 6 a.m. to 12 p.m. each Sunday when application usage is at its lowest
  • After 5 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday, unless business needs to make a change during business hours
  • The second Wednesday of the month from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. for patching Microsoft servers 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. three Sundays a year for routine Windows and Linux maintenance

Customer Responsibilities

If you have an integration request, please submit your request to the AITS Service Desk including a 1-2 paragraph description of the requested work and it will be assigned to the appropriate functional and/or technical area to be assessed.

Many integration requests involve considerable effort and become specific projects. If the requested work is estimated to exceed 250 hours, a project proposal will be required to be submitted. Information regarding submitting a project proposal can be found on the ITPC website.

How Do We Charge?

This service is offered through the Work Request and ITPC Project request processes. For more information on requesting work or submitting a project, please see the ITPC Project Submissions page on the ITPC website. Currently, AITS does not charge for this service.