What is ESB and is it already obsolete?

Follow the evolution of IT integration from Point-to-Point (P2P) models, to Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) models, and today’s revolutionary iPaaS models. What is an ESB and why is an iPaaS the best choice for enterprise integrations going forward?

March 30, 2023

An Enterprise Service Bus, otherwise known as an ESB, is a type of IT architecture that allows multiple applications to communicate through a hub or bus-like infrastructure. What is Enterprise Service Bus and what does ESB mean for your IT integration? An ESB integration basically establishes principles and rules that guide the communication capabilities of different applications. digital-transformation-future-technology

How Does an ESB work?

An ESB is a centralized and flexible way to connect multiple applications. It works by connecting systems, capturing application data and functionality, and making those capabilities accessible to and reusable by other applications.

An ESB architecture provides a streamlined, ‘pluggable’ system that is scalable, and provides a centralized system for monitoring and managing transactions and interactions between applications.

The Evolution of IT Integration

ESBs burst onto the IT integration scene in the late 1990s as a solution to the challenges of Point-to-Point (P2P) integration models. The bus-like structure of an ESB enables the decoupling of custom-coded application connections and removes the codependence of P2P integrations, allowing several applications to communicate with each other through a centralized ESB.

Enterprise integration has come a long way since the ‘90s. Back then, P2P integration models were the norm. Most IT departments dutifully connected applications with individually coded P2P integration systems. Using P2P meant two applications could communicate with each other using customized code, which worked well when there were a limited number of applications involved. Once multiple applications were in the mix, however, the P2P model quickly revealed its shortcomings.

The Challenges of Point-to-Point (P2P) Integration Models

P2P systems become rigid over time because they create strong dependencies between applications and they are not scalable. They gradually become more difficult to manage because they use custom code for each connection with no central hub to monitor systems or troubleshoot issues.

The custom coding of P2P systems is often called ‘spaghetti code’ because it’s comprised of an intertwined system of applications that have no central way of communicating with each other. These types of P2P systems are prone to failure because of their lack of communication capabilities and their ever-increasing complexity.

The mounting P2P challenges eventually led to the emergence of the Enterprise Service Bus, or ESB. It may seem like ESBs were the answer to the P2P challenges of the past, but even ESBs have their limitations.

The Shortcomings of ESBs

Using an ESB has been an effective integration method for decades, but the concept was created before advancements in cloud technology, so as cloud adoption increases, the effectiveness of an ESB decreases. ESBs were great when all of IT was server based and nearly all technology was managed by internal IT teams. However, when developers originally created ESBs, they didn’t anticipate cloud technologies or the advantages of an enterprise integration platform-as-a-service (iPaaS).

Nowadays, one of the biggest limitations of ESBs is that they are built for on-premise, server-based technology that needs internal management of local or legacy systems. As a result, ESBs cannot work with cloud-based technology, hybrid integration systems, or enterprise iPaaS technology.

There are also additional limitations to an ESB model. ESBs often have complex architecture that does not have the ability or the agility to scale (or retract) easily, if at all. An ESB can also take significant time, money, and effort to establish. Highly skilled (and highly paid) professional coders must develop ESBs or take specialized training to become certified with an established (or traditional) integration provider in order to implement and maintain an Enterprise Service Bus. Plus, according to The State of Enterprise Integration report by Digibee, 98% of respondents have had to rebuild integrations for existing key business applications in the past 12 months.

While ESBs have served their purpose for several years now, there are growing questions about whether they are gradually becoming obsolete. All of the extra time, training, money, and effort being put into ESBs often leads to questions about how to reduce the time and cost of your IT integrations, and even questions like Pro-Code Versus Low-Code: What’s the Best Solution for Your IT Integration?

ESBs may still serve a valuable purpose for legacy back-office systems that won’t experience change, but ESBs should not be considered for cloud-centric initiatives where dynamic growth, scale and change are anticipated. For more flexibility and scalability, many believe the future of enterprise integration is with an enterprise integration platform-as-a-service (iPaaS).

What is an enterprise iPaaS? The Future of Enterprise Integration

An enterprise iPaaS solution is a low-code, scalable, subscription-based service that bridges the gap between current on-premise systems and new cloud-based technologies. An iPaaS solution can connect data and platforms regardless of underlying silos, ESB architecture, or legacy P2P infrastructure. An iPaaS solution integrates data from multiple sources, including Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software, ecommerce platforms, and automation integration systems.

Moving toward an iPaaS solution will give you the ability to connect all of your end-to-end ERP and CRM systems and software into one platform to eliminate silos and integrate programs and data across the enterprise. An iPaaS also has the flexibility and agility to easily scale or reduce system architecture and seamlessly integrate cloud-based technology, custom-code on-premise applications, and hybrid systems. Find out how to gain faster time to value with your IT integrations with an enterprise integration platform-as-a-service (iPaaS).

The Advantages of iPaaS with the Digibee Difference

Technology has made significant advancements since the 1990s. Whether you’re still using outdated P2P models or ESB integrations, Digibee’s enterprise iPaaS can make a big difference to your enterprise.

Digibee provides a smooth, streamlined, fast IT integration experience. Digibee’s iPaaS is a cloud-native, enterprise-ready integration platform that accelerates time-to-value, mitigates risks, and helps reduce IT costs. Digibee’s easy-to-use iPaaS is also intuitive, so all levels of IT staff can manage the platform with very little training required.

It’s time to evolve with Digibee. Learn how to integrate and modernize your enterprise and easily connect the dots between build, run, and monitor with Digibee’s intuitive iPaaS platform.

Discover all the benefits of Digibee’s modern cloud integration platform, book your choice of a discovery call (15 minutes), custom demo (30 minutes) or a deep dive (60 minutes) to learn more.

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