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QAD QXtend Overview
This section discusses a number of concepts and their specific use in the context of the QAD QXtend interoperability platform. This section concludes with an exercise to test your understanding of the concepts.
Enterprise Application Integration (EAI)
Supply chain management applications, customer relationship management (CRM) applications, and other types of applications typically cannot share information with one another. Such applications are sometimes consequently referred to as islands of automation. This inability to communicate leads to inefficiencies, such as the storage of identical data in multiple locations.
Enterprise application integration (EAI) is the process of linking applications within a single organization in order to avoid these inefficiencies, and to simplify and automate business processes as far as possible.
Interoperability is a business strategy that aims to deliver seamless data flow between heterogeneous and distributed software applications throughout (and beyond) the enterprise.
QXI and QXO are components of the QXtend interoperability framework, which provides a standardized data interface between QAD products, and between QAD products and external systems.
The interface is a Web services-based, SOAP-compliant, XML framework, enabling complete platform-independent access to QAD Enterprise Applications business functionality.
Service-oriented Architecture (SOA)
Service-oriented architecture (SOA) describes an IT infrastructure that allows different applications to exchange data with one another when engaging in business processes.
SOA couples services with operating systems and other technologies that underlie applications. SOA separates functions into distinct units, or services, which can be accessed over a network so that the services can be combined and reused. Services communicate with other services by exchanging data.
Enterprise Service Bus
The enterprise service bus (ESB) is a standards-based message and events management and orchestration framework that:
Allows separation of integration from applications and business logic.
Orchestrates services management.
Orchestrates message routing, delivery, and transformation.
Enables message tracking and integration monitoring.
QAD Enterprise Applications
Interoperability enables data from disparate systems within a business enterprise to be shared with other systems with the enterprise without resorting to manual data entry or implementing custom code.
Manual data entry is a slow and time-consuming way to share data with other systems, often introducing errors that require correction. Custom code is expensive to create, quality assure, and maintain. Implementing QAD QXtend can remove these inefficiencies.
Enterprise Interoperability (SOA)
Implementing an EAI strategy that leverages the services of an ESB greatly simplifies enterprise interoperability. All applications in the enterprise use a common approach to achieve the required business solution. Applications only control the communication to and from the ESB, and all other orchestration and processing is controlled by execution rules in the EAI/ESB infrastructure.
The central EAI/ESB approach enables the construction of common components that perform services that are essential in any enterprise integration. Examples of such components are:
Message tracking: This component tracks the flow of messages through a business process that is executed against many disparate applications. Tracking the messages at the EAI/ESB level provides visibility into the entire business process being executed and enables monitoring and management of those processes. The great advantage is that these services can be provided as a common component and reused by all applications that use the EAI/ESB.
Xform (transformation) engine: This component transforms messages from one format to another. Having a transformation engine is a common requirement of any integration. By providing this as a service on the EAI/ESB layer, all applications can leverage it rather than each application controlling the mapping process.