An integration server is a computer server used to facilitate interaction between a diverse operating system and application across internal and external networked computer systems. An enterprise integration server may include prepackaged applications, customized applications, and legacy applications. Typically, an integration server has one of two architectures: the hub-and-spoke model or the network-centric bus model, also called the message-bus model.
In the hub-and-spoke model, all applications connect through a central server. The integration server manages all communication, data translation, and process interactions among the connected operating systems and applications. When a new operating system or application is connected, it is automatically integrated with all other systems. The hub-and-spoke model is better for companies with limited information technology (IT) resources with only a handful of systems handling a moderate volume of transactions.
In the network-centric bus model, all nodes are linked in a series along a common backbone. Communication between interconnected operating systems and applications travel along the backbone to the integration server that handles the data transformation, translation, and routing to the receiving nodes. The network-centric bus model is better for large enterprises that have dozens or even hundreds of systems handling heavy transaction volumes.
Integration server applications are built to follows standards such as Extensible Markup Language (XML), Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), Java Message Service (JMS), Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP), and Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP). Vitria, SeeBeyond, Tibco, and webMethods are leading integration server providers.