The Integration Laboratory from the Service and Integration Technology research group mainly serves the purpose of examining methods and tools for the integration of business information systems. The development of structured approaches, after which different software systems can be integrated into flexible IT-structures, should be seen as a particular priority. Many of these systems have been in place for decades. They are characterised by their immanent resistance against change and are not easy to integrate with other legacy systems or new systems.
Attentions is not only spent to established integration patterns and methods, but also adequate self-developments on different layers. Beside a cross section on relevant integration currents, main areas of research are proclaimed and analysed by long-term research. The following topics are currently examined in the Integrationlab:
- Integration techniques with extremely small intrusion into existing systems (minimally invasive)
- Agent-based architectures
- Message-based approaches
- Servicification of legacy applications
- Model-driven development approaches in context of integration engineering (Model Driven integration engineering)
On behalf of predominating IT-landscapes of most large organisations, which are crowded by a multiplicity of old application systems (so-called legacy applications), the integration laboratory has a special focus on tasks of integration within the Mainframe range. This assortment is admissible due to the fact that approximately 70 per cent of all business-critical data run in such an environment.
The University of Leipzig has a special unique position, because it operates as one of two european universities, its own IBM S/390 Mainframe. This indicates the high technological and technical skills. The Integrationlab has a close collaboration with Mr. Herrmann, the responsible person of the Mainframe project of the University of Leipzig.
Different virtualization technologies allow the reproduction of complex integration scenarios in the integration laboratory. Organisationally the integrationlab consists of two units: the development environment and the server environment.
The development environment consists of a broad spectrum of integration- and developer-toolsets of many considerable manufacturers. These are for example:
- Active BPEL
- Apache ActiveMQ
- Apache Camel
- bflow* Toolbox
- IBM Rational Developer for System z
- IBM WebSphere Developer for System z
- IBM WebSphere MQ
- IBM WebSphere Message Broker
- IBM Data Studio Developer
- Micro Focus OnWeb
- Microsoft BizTalk Server
These existing products are used for research and development purposes of future technologies, as well as for the development of prototypical implementations. The server environment consists physically of a IBM z/900 Mainframe with different LPARs, which is supplemented by a modern virtual server solution based on Windows server 2008. The applications, which should be integrated (integration objects), are examined in this environment. For this purpose a multiplicity of modernization-needy application systems out of the fields E-Commerce, E-Procurement and E-Businesses is available.
Running Projects in the Integration Laboratory
- “Integration of Legacy-Applications on a z/OS-Host with a observer architecture” (self-development, Master’s Thesis)
- „Evaluation of the IBM WebSphere Message Broker for file-based integration” (Bachelor’s Thesis)