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IBM Redbooks Publication Dives Into Agile Integration

Joseph Gulla starts a new series driven by reading some of the latest IBM Redbooks publications.

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This week, I’m starting a new series driven by reading some of the latest IBM Redbooks publications. One of the best things that I have done lately is signing up for the weekly newsletter on IBM RedBooks publications. Isn’t it great to find out what different teams are exploring important ideas in IT? I write “ideas” because Redbooks publications aren’t just about what’s happening with IBM products, as demonstrated by “Accelerating Modernization with Agile Integration.” This book is the main focus of this post.

Modernization and Agile Integration

I’m deeply interested in both of these ideas—modernization and Agile. Modernization is about the “what” that’s being done, and Agile is the “how” it’s getting done. “Agile integration” has a special meaning—it’s the approach that allows microservices to be placed into the architecture effortlessly or removed or updated without disrupting other services. A good place to start exploring these ideas and others is to review the abstract for the book.
From its abstract, you can make a list of the main ideas to be explored. Here are seven that I identified that can be used as a guide to the entire book. The quotes and descriptions for the seven words or phrases were selected to give you insightful details regarding the term.
1. Digital transformation: “A primary focus of this digital transformation is to build new connected customer experiences across a network of applications that leverage data of all types.”
2. Agile integration: “Modernizing integration to enable business agility.” The book notes three key aspects of Agile integration: decentralized ownership, delivery focused architecture and cloud native infrastructure. As you read the book, you quickly see how important APIs are to the notion of Agile integration.
3. Multicloud: “One of the major benefits of using a cloud-native architecture is portability. The goal of many organizations is to be able to run containers anywhere, and to be able to move freely between a private cloud, various vendors of public cloud or indeed a combination of these.” Cloud services and APIs work well together. APIs can take full advantage of cloud features like scale up and scale down and pay for what you use.
4. Decentralization: “While decentralization of integration offers potential unique benefits, especially in terms of overall agility, it’s a significant departure from the way many organizations are structured today. The pros and cons need to be weighted carefully, and it may be that a blended approach where only some parts of the organization take on this approach is more achievable.” Many different kinds of decentralization are discussed in the publication, but it’s important to know that APIs rely on decentralization in the way they’re developed and run in microservices architecture.
5. Microservices: “This architecture is a concrete example of how to build applications in a cloud-native style. Microservices is clearly associated with cloud-native but it’s not equivalent.” Architecture refers to the way the APIs are designed, developed, tested and run. Architecture is like a set of conventions to follow.
6. ESB and API: “While many large enterprises successfully implemented the ESB pattern, the term is often disparaged in the cloud-native space, and especially in relation to microservices architecture. It’s seen as heavyweight and lacking in agility. … External APIs have become an essential part of the online persona of many companies, and are at least as important as its websites and mobile applications.” ESB is described in the publication as a failed pattern whereas APIs in a microservices architecture are presented as a ESB replacement.
7. Agility, scalability and resilience: “By committing to a different way of designing applications along with the move to a container infrastructure, we can gain significant benefits in terms of agility, scalability and resilience. A key element of Agile integration is to introduce and evolve the use of API management with a focus on ensuring the APIs are designed to be consumer centric.” When you design and implement APIs the right way, you get these benefits.

Next Week  

Next week, I’ll continue with this series on recent IBM Redbooks publications with a focus on IBM Db2 12 for z/OS Technical Overview. This publication introduces the enhancements made available with Db2 12 for z/OS. It was written to help database administrators understand the new functions and performance enhancements, to plan for ways to use the key new capabilities, and to justify the investment in installing or migrating to Db2 12.
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