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Cheat Sheet: Integration Technology Matrix

J.D. Meier, Alex Homer, David Hill, Jason Taylor, Prashant Bansode, Lonnie Wall, Rob Boucher Jr, Akshay Bogawat


  • Understand the tradeoffs for each integration technology choice.
  • Understand the design impact of choosing integration technology.
  • Understand all available integration technologies.
  • Choose an integration technology for your scenario.


Use this cheat sheet to understand your technology choices for integration. Your choice of integration technology will be related to the application type you are developing. Use the Integration Technologies Summary to review each technology and its description. Use the Benefits and Considerations Matrix to make an informed choice of integration technology based on the advantages and considerations of each one. Use the Common Scenarios and Solutions to map your application scenario to common integration technology solutions.

Integration Technologies Summary

  • Microsoft® BizTalk® Server. BizTalk provides a complete stack of adapters, orchestration, messaging, and protocols for building Enterprise Application Integration (EAI)–enabled systems.
  • Microsoft Host Integration Server. Host Integration Server provides a platform for connecting applications with IBM zSeries and iSeries applications. In addition, Host Integration Server supports data connections between Microsoft Message Queuing (MSMQ) and IBM WebSphere MQ.
  • Microsoft Message Queuing (MSMQ). MSMQ allows you to connect applications using queued messaging. MSMQ provides guaranteed message delivery, priority-based messaging, and security. It can support integration with systems that may be occasionally connected or temporarily offline. MSMQ also supports both synchronous and asynchronous messaging scenarios.
  • Microsoft Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) Guidance. ESB Guidance is a logical entity that provides a loosely coupled messaging architecture created using BizTalk Server. It exploits the underlying BizTalk features to provide flexible and extensible architecture. It provides capabilities such as delivery assurance, message security, service registry, intelligent routing, and unified exception handling.

Benefits and Considerations Matrix

The following table breaks down the benefits and considerations for each integration technology.

Table 1 Benefits and Considerations Matrix
Technology Benefits Considerations
BizTalk Enables electronic document exchange relationships between companies using Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) and/or Extensible Markup Language (XML) formats. Might lead to tightly coupled infrastructure.
Integrates with non-Microsoft systems. Requires customization to achieve ESB capabilities.
Easily extended to provide Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) capabilities.
WCF line-of-business (LOB) adapters enable development of custom adapters for use inside or outside BizTalk.
Provides out-of-box adapters for integration with systems such as SAP, Oracle, SQL, etc.
Provides SOAP adapter to help you to work with Web services.
Host Integration Server Supports network integration between Microsoft Windows Server® and IBM mainframe or AS/400 computers. Must be installed in a Windows Server environment.
Provides secure host access and identity management with support for Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)/Transport Layer Security (TLS), single sign-on (SSO), and password synchronization. Requires Microsoft Visual Studio® 2005 or greater.
Provides data integration with support for MSMQ and XML-based Web services. Requires MSMQ with routing support.
Includes a data access tool for creating and managing connections with Database 2 (DB2) databases.
Supports enterprise scalability and performance with simultaneous host sessions, load balancing, and hot failover.
BizTalk adapters for Host Systems are available to support BizTalk integration with DB2, IBM WebSphere MQ, Host Applications, and Host Files.
Microsoft Message Queuing (MSMQ) Enables applications to communicate with each other across heterogeneous networks using message-based scenarios. Deployment mode should be considered prior to installing and configuring MSMQ.
Supports reliable messaging between applications inside and outside of an enterprise. When using the Workgroup deployment mode, messages cannot be encrypted, internal certificates cannot be used, and cross-platform messaging is not supported.
Supports transactional capabilities, such as ensuring that messages are only delivered once, that messages are delivered in order, and confirmation that messages were retrieved from destination queues. Independent clients should be used instead of dependent clients.
Provides message routing based on network topology, transport connectivity, and session concentration needs. MSMQ is optimized for sending remotely and receiving locally. As a result, you should avoid remote queue reads.
Allows message delivery over HTTP transport with support for SOAP Reliable Messaging Protocol (SRMP). You should avoid functions that query Active Directory.
Supports the distribution of a single message to multiple destinations. Asynchronous notifications using events can become lost.
Is included with Windows Server 2003 and above. WCF endpoints require Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0 or above.
Supports two deployment modes: domain mode with access to the Microsoft Active Directory® directory service, and Workgroup mode.
Includes WCF-provided endpoints for MSMQ.
Microsoft Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) Guidance Provides dynamic resolution of service endpoints at run time, which abstracts endpoint definition. You need BizTalk server.
Decouples the message transformation from the application. You might need customization for a specific business scenario.
Integrates closely with WCF to provide security and reliable messaging. Needs Dunda’s charts for exception management portal.
Provides fault detection and reporting, through unified exception handling for both system and business exceptions. The EBS itinerary tracking data does not have out-of-box display.
Provides out-of-box resolvers for communicating with service registries such as Universal Description, Discovery and Integration (UDDI).
Supports an itinerary-based approach for routing and transformation.
Supports client-side and server itineraries.
Supports resolver extensibility for creating custom resolvers.
Supports designer for itinerary creation.
Supports exception management portal.
Exposes all key features such as exception handling, resolver, etc., as a Web service.
Provides itinerary tracking using Business Activity Monitoring (BAM).

Common Scenarios and Solutions


Consider using BizTalk if you:
  • Want interaction with multiple Web services via an orchestrator as part of a Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA).
  • Want to support business-to-business (B2B) processes, including industry standards such as EDIFACT, ANSCI X12, HL7, HIPAA, or SWIFT.
  • Want parallel execution of services.
  • Need a solution that is highly reliable and requires a dedicated scalable server infrastructure with no code changes required.
  • Need to measure business Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) by configuring a BAM solution to provide near real-time visibility into your application’s process data.
  • Need to abstract your application business logic into declarative rule policies that can be easily changed in time to match dynamic changes of business requirements.

Host Integration Server

Consider using Host Integration Server if you:
  • Need to support interaction with IBM zSeries or iSeries applications.
  • Want to integrate BizTalk with DB2, WebSphere MQ, Host Applications, or Host Files.
  • Want to integrate MSMQ with WebSphere MQ.

Microsoft Message Queuing

Consider using Microsoft Message Queuing if you:
  • Need to support message-based interaction between applications.
  • Want to integrate with non-Microsoft platforms.
  • Need to support the SRMP.

Microsoft Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) Guidance

Consider using ESB Guidance if you:
  • Need to support an itinerary-based approach.
  • Need to support dynamic resolution and routing.
  • Need to use dynamic transformations.
  • Need to support robust and unified exception management for your EAI system.

Additional Resources

Last edited Dec 19, 2008 at 10:05 PM by prashantbansode, version 2


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