- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 1 edition (December 16, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0201709074
- ISBN-13: 978-0201709070
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1 x 8.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 13 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,563,092 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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IT Architectures and Middleware: Strategies for Building Large, Integrated Systems 1st Edition
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From the Inside Flap
All large organizations have complex, heterogeneous IT systems. All of them need to integrate their applications to support faster, more accurate business processes and to provide meaningful, consistent management information. All organizations are struggling to achieve this.
One reason for this struggle is that they are caught in the crossfire of an IT vendor war. In one corner is Microsoft. The strength of Microsoft is that they have a consistent technical strategy based on COM+ and Windows 2000. In the other corner, ranged against Microsoft, is a group that includes IBM, SUN, Oracle, and BEA. This group is focusing their resources around Enterprise Java Beans and CORBA. This is a battle over who will rule over middleware technology; a battle over how to implement distributed systems. Given the importance of the subject matter, it is a battle for the hearts and souls of IT for the next decade. Why? Because all large organizations have complex, heterogeneous IT systems that need to be brought together.
But vendor wars are only part of the problem. Scratch the surface of a large IT department and you will see many camps--in particular, workstation/departmental server "decentralizers" in one camp, and mainframe "centralizers" in another. Look from another angle and you will see two kinds of people, "techies" and "modelers." A techy will start a project by deciding what platform and software to use and will eventually get around to the boring bit, which is writing application code. A modeler will design the application with a modeling tool, generate a few programs and a database, and eventually will confront the (to him or her) trivial question of what platform it will run on. Modeling to a techy seems abstract and disconnected from reality. Technical issues to a modeler are tedious, and surely, soon we will be able to generate the application from the model at the press of a button, won't we? One of the keys to developing large distributed systems is to bring these people together.
Computer professionals are in general comfortable with developing applications on a single platform to a well-defined set of requirements. The reason is that the technology is well understood; the modelers know that what they design can be implemented and the techies know they can make it work. Large distributed systems are not like that. A system designed without consideration for the distributed implementation will flat out not work. Even worse, you will only discover that it doesn't work when you start scaling it up to production capacity. To add to our woes, we are now considering integrating multiple systems, each of which was a challenge to develop in the first place, and each of which is changing at a different speed, driven ever faster by the business. The notion of a "well-defined set of requirements" is not realistic; requirements will always be changing.
It is my contention that modelers need to know something about technology, and techies need to know something about modeling. Also, vendors, commentators, consultants, academics, and marketers need to know that their "solutions" lack either a modeling or a technical dimension.
This book is about IT architecture. IT architecture provides a framework for discussing implementation design, and it is in these discussions where techies and modelers should meet. Anyone with IT architect as part of their roles and responsibilities should know everything in this book. (Note I said "know" not "agree with.") They might like to read this book to see whether my approach to IT architecture is the same as theirs.
While IT architects are an important audience for this book, I have tried to write a book for IT management professionals as well. To be honest, I have assumed that the IT management professionals in my readership come from an IT background and not a business background; therefore, this book is not an introduction to IT. So why do IT management professionals need a book about IT architecture? Because it is here that so many of their concerns come together--application flexibility, information quality, resiliency, scalability and so on. One of my goals is to give IT management professionals the knowledge needed to challenge IT architects.
This book attempts to give an overview of the whole subject of building and running large distributed systems. It is a deliberate attempt to step above the detail and the infighting to examine what is important, what isn't important, and what we need to do differently now from ten years ago. My contention is that the difference between then and now is much more than simply that there are some new tools to play with. Building integrated systems is substantially different from building standalone applications, and it impacts everything we do in IT.
A major theme of this book is "enterprise computing." In the list of terms abused by the industry, "enterprise computing" has to be somewhere near the top. This book takes the view that enterprise computing is about being able to build systems that support the whole enterprise, which in large organizations means many thousands of users. It is obvious that systems supporting thousands of users must have resiliency, scalability, security, and manageability as major concerns. The enterprise computing mentality is about not being prepared to compromise on these objectives. An old mainframe application written in Cobol that gives you resiliency, scalability, security, and manageability is far superior to any implementation that does not.
This is not to say that you cannot build enterprise capable applications with modern tools like COM+ and Enterprise Java Beans. But to succeed we must understand the principles of building large, resilient systems. The principles that served us well for mainframe applications do not all apply for distributed systems and vice versa. So much has changed recently, especially in connection with the Internet, that I feel it is time the principles were reassessed and restated.
Unfortunately I have already discovered that many people see a discussion of principles as too abstract, and many people in IT, to my surprise, hate any sniff of an abstract concept. In a sense this is a value judgment; my important principle is your unimportant abstract concept. I have tried to avoid too dry a presentation style by giving many examples. In the earlier chapters the examples are very short--snippets of examples if you will. In later chapters, when I discuss modeling, the examples become more substantial.
Many organizations today are trying to avoid all these issues by buying third-party application packages. This is partially successful. When you buy a package, you buy an IT architecture, albeit only in the context of the package functionality. If you buy many packages, it is likely that you must lash them together somehow and for this you need an IT architect. If the packages are from different vendors, integration is a challenge. In this book, I give you the principles that should help in this task, but I have chosen not to address the challenge directly. The problem is there are so many packages, and I don't know them well enough to give a good account on package integration. The subject needs a book by itself.
This book is not for everyone. If you have no ambitions beyond programming, you will find this book short on product detail. It does not tell you anything about installation, there are no proper coding examples, there is no survey of products, and little in the way of product comparisons. This book will probably offend many IT vendors by mentioning their products either not at all or only in passing. I have no apology for any of these omissions. There are many books on coding, and product details change so fast the best place for comparisons is on the Internet. This book does not teach modeling. There are many books for that as well. But I hope application designers will read this book because the discussion on the principles for building enterprise systems is vital for them also. Finally, this book is not an academic book. There is little mathematics except for back-of-the-envelope style calculations to illustrate a few points. The aim is for a practical, wide-ranging discussion for IT professionals to help them understand what is going on so they can pick out the real issues from the imaginary issues and start building complex distributed systems with confidence.
An outline of the book is covered in the next section--How to read this book. How to read this book
You can read this book straight through or as a work of reference. The purpose of this section is to explain the structure of the book, particularly for those who want to use the book for reference. If you are intending to use it for reference, and don't intend to read it through first, I encourage you to read at least chapters 1, 6, 10, 11, and 15.
This book is about four topics:
Middleware technology alternatives
Distributed systems implementation design
Guidelines on the practice of IT architecture
The common thread that holds these topics together is a focus on IT architecture and implementation design. The structure of the book in greater detail is as follows. Introduction
Chapter 1: The Nature of the Problem. This chapter is an introduction to the rest of the book. It takes an example and points out the main concerns of IT architecture. Middleware technology alternatives
Chapter 2: A Short History of Middleware Technology--From the Stone Age to Message Queuing. This and the following two chapters are a historical survey of middleware technology. The topics are
Remote procedures calls.
Remote database access (ODBC, etc.).
Distributed transaction processing.
Comparison of message queuing with distributed transaction processing.
Chapter 3: A Short History of Middleware Technology--Object Middleware. The topics are
A short introduction to object-oriented concepts.
Using object interfaces over middleware.
Chapter 4: A Short History of Middleware Technology--Components and the Web. The topics are
The difference, from an application implementation design angle, between Webbrowsers and workstations.
Enterprise Java Beans.
The issue of session state.
IT architecture guidelines / middleware
Chapter 5: Middleware Classification and Middleware Architectures. The topics are
A technological classification of middleware. This section tries to answer the questions--is there additional middleware that has been overlooked, and how does middleware fit with other software?
Vendor architectures like Microsoft DNA and Sun's J2EE.
Chapter 6: What Is Middleware For? The topics are
A description of the functional requirements of middleware technology.
An introduction to a high-level generic architecture (this is further broken down into components in chapter 10).
Distributed systems technology principles
Chapter 7: Resiliency. This chapter explains the principles of resiliency in distributed systems.
Chapter 8: Performance and Scalability. This chapter explains the principles of performance and scalability in distributed systems.
Chapter 9: Security and Systems Management. This chapter explains the principles of security and systems management in distributed systems. IT architecture guidelines / distributed systems implementation design
Chapter 10: Implementation Design and Components. The topics are
An explanation of the design context for IT architecture.
A look at implementation design in more detail, in particular how to break the application into components.
Distributed systems implementation design
Chapter 11: Implementing Business Processes. The topics are
A description of business processes.
The relationship between business processes and data.
The relationship between business processes and IT systems.
Chapter 12: Information Access and Information Accuracy. The topics are
Information access requirements.
Shared data or controlled duplication in new applications.
How to change existing applications to achieve data consistency.
Chapter 13: Change--Integration. This and the next chapter are about changing existing systems. The topics are
Creating a new presentation layer for existing applications.
Integration of transaction servers.
Chapter 14: Change--Flexibility. The topics are
Understanding and changing large, monolithic applications.
Reducing reliance on batch.
Chapter 15: Building an IT architecture. This chapter summarizes the contents of the book and discusses how projects change when an IT architecture approach is followed.
IT architecture guidelines / conclusion
Throughout the book you will see text put into boxes with a heading in bold. You will also see references like this (see IT Architecture box). This reference indicates that the box on this subject has more information about the topic just being discussed. The text in the box contains a subject that is either more technical than the body of the text or that is on an esoteric subject I could not resist writing about.
From the Back Cover
The challenges of designing, building, and maintaining large-scale, distributed enterprise systems are truly daunting. Written for all IT professionals, IT Architectures and Middleware will help you rise above the obscuring conflicts of new business objectives, new technologies, and vendor wars so that you can think clearly and productively about the challenges you face.
IT Architectures and Middleware focuses on the essential principles and priorities of system design and emphasizes the new requirements brought to the fore by the rise of e-commerce and distributed, integrated systems. It offers a concise overview of middleware technology alternatives and distributed systems. Numerous increasingly complex examples are incorporated throughout, and the book concludes with guidelines on the practice of IT architecture.
Specific topics covered include:
- Middleware technology, covering Distributed Transaction Processing, Message Queuing, CORBA, COM+ and EJB
- Key principles of distributed systems: resiliency, performance and scalability, security, and systems management
- Information access requirements and data consistency
- Creation of a new presentation layer for existing applications
- Application integration
- Component architectures
Once you get your mind around the concepts, principles, and alternatives discussed in IT Architectures and Middleware , you can proceed with greater confidence to design complex enterprise systems.
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Top customer reviews
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My background encompasses both architectures and middleware, among other disciplines. By the time I had read 15 pages I was marveling at how well the author described complex concepts. My first thought was this book is one I would recommend to less experienced analysts and architects to kick-start their knowledge. By page 40 I was enlightened--and profoundly so--on the strengths and weaknesses of transaction process monitors vs. message queueing. I thought I knew a thing or two about these subjects based on my extensive experience with Bea's Tuxedo and more recent experience with IBM's MQSeries. After reading the brief but extremely well articulated section in the book I felt as though I really understood both approaches for the first time!
The rest of the book is a fast tour of object technology, architectures, database management and transaction management. It contains one gem of insight or knowledge after the other. While technical books are not usually "page turners" this one certainly is (that, or I seriously need to get a life). Even the short section on organizational and project management context contained great information.
To summarize: This book is well suited for both beginners and experienced professionals. The author covers a lot of ground in such a manner that the beginner can comprehend the complexities of IT architectures and the proper application of middleware. The experienced practitioner will find one thought provoking fact or insight after another that they may not have considered. The author has both wide and deep knowledge on a number of topics. He also has, in my opinion, one of the keenest minds in the industry. I hope he takes the time to write more books because I believe he made a significant contribution to the body of IT architecture knowledge with this book.
Occasionally in the earlier part of the book something would be mentioned as being more fully treated in the latter part of the book. And, in the latter part of the book, occasionally things would be mentioned as having been treated earlier in the book. Meanwhile, the pace went from topic to topic so quickly and concisely that I felt vaguely dissatisfied with the depth of coverage.
I can't say I had any moments of "aha! that's a good idea I never thought of before!" It all pretty much made sense, and it all pretty much contained what I've already been exposed to during ten years of software development. This might make for a good introduction for someone who hasn't thought much about architectural issues. It also might serve as a good quick review for someone returning to these issues after a prolonged absence. But, if you think you've already got a sense of the issues involved, you might get more out of books which go into more depth.
This is a good overview text. If you're past the point of needing introduction or review, you might not be fully satisfied. I would probably read other books by this author if they savored the issues in more depth.
A lot of books about architecture concentrate on simple examples and small-scale problems, and you get the feeling that's all the authors know about. Many books which do address large systems assume that you are building on a greenfield site, or can somehow ignore the legacies if you are adopting more modern tools for your new systems.
By contrast this is a book about the reality of mixed legacy and new technology environments, written by someone who clearly has real experience of large server farms, big databases, high transaction rates and, perhaps most importantly, important legacy systems with hundreds of thousands of lines of code written in COBOL .
The book starts by discussing typical problems - things like adding new e-Business presentation layers to existing transactional legacy systems, and briefly summarises how a combination of good architectural practices and appropriate technologies can address them.
The following chapters present a brief history of large system architectures, including transaction monitors, message queuing and client-server approaches before moving on to object middleware with a discussion on CORBA, Enterprise Java and COM and its relatives. This is followed by a more detailed discussion of how different parts of systems can communicate, and how middleware can be classified. A great strength of the book throughout is that Tony is not obviously partial in the Java vs. Microsoft debate, and instead concentrates on their similarities and on strategies which should be able to work in both cases.
The core of the book starts with a discussion on the different types of "transaction" between a system and its clients (users and other systems), and how these relate to business processes. The following chapters then look at three key issues within this context: resilience; performance and scalability; and security and systems management. In each case there is a clear statement of the problems and objectives, followed by an assessment of the relative merits of various possible architectural solutions.
The final part of the book presents a process which should lead to system architectures better able to meet their non-functional requirements. Tony believes the core of the process is development of a good business process model, which then leads quite directly to an understanding of the system's components and their interactions. There's some very good advice on practical implementation approaches, and why process modelling gives better results than traditional functional analysis.
The final chapters also address key issues such as how to ensure data integrity and accessibility, and how to manage change through integration and designing for flexibility, before revisiting the process issues and summarising how the architecture should develop.
Published in 2000, this pre-dates Microsoft's .NET initiative, the emergence of vendor-neutral messaging standards and the real advent of web services. Each of these will have a major impact on the sort of systems and issues discussed in this book, and you may therefore also need to read some material more focused on these technologies and others, but that shouldn't detract from this book's value.
Overall this is an excellent book, and I strongly recommend it to anyone trying to understand the nature of large, integrated systems and their architecture.
Most recent customer reviews
The book gives an interesting perspective into the growth of middleware solutions with special...Read more
The topics in this book are really great. Non are covered in any detail unfortunately.Read more