The Best Ways to Solve DataPower Issues that Impact Applications – Part 1

What are DataPower Appliances?

DataPower SOA Appliances are a family of network devices, designed to make XML and Web Services deployments simpler, faster, and more secure.

XML Security Gateway

• The XG45 XML Security Gateway, an entry level variant of the DataPower family. Designed to make XML “go faster”, this appliance was designed to securely process XML at near wire-speed.

Integration Appliance

• The XI52 Integration Appliance, IBM’s “hardware ESB”. This is the core of the DataPower offering, built for simplified deployment & hardened security. It includes all of the functionality found in the XML Security Gateway appliance, plus added capabilities for bridging multiple protocols.

CASE STUDY

Why is DataPower important?

So, why are these appliances so important? Well, in the modern, hyper-connected enterprise, applications are deployed through “loosely-coupled” services, and a big part of what makes that possible is the use of the XML markup language for exchanging structured information, and the Web Services that are built on top of that.

Connecting applications through a service-oriented architecture introduces a lot of challenges:

Ease of use

Tiered services have multiple layers, each with its own configuration requirements, and that can make deploying new releases difficult. For example, software upgrades have to be coordinated to make sure that all of the components in the application stack play together well.

Security

Exchanging XML documents between business services is actually a pretty risky business: malicious or ill-formed XML can be injected into the application stack, causing problems that are very difficult to find and resolve.

Performance

Parsing xml is costly and time-intensive, and the process of making XML secure makes it even more expensive.

Firmware

DataPower appliances address these challenges through firmware, so the deployment of highly connected business services is much easier to do, much more secure … and up to 70 times faster than business systems based on software.

How are DataPower appliances used?

PROTOCOL INDEPENDENCE

DataPower appliances introduce “protocol-independent”, high performance message processing. That means that business services can be accessed using different formats and protocols than the ones in which they are implemented.

WEB SERVICES FRONT END

For example, DataPower can be used to add a web service front end to a “legacy” application, where incoming messages from client applications, using SOAP over HTTP, can be converted to COBOL copybook format over MQ.

What added value does Nastel deliver regarding DataPower appliances?

DOING MORE

The adoption of DataPower appliances is accelerating. As more business services are moved to DataPower, the volume and frequency of changes to these business services is increasing as well. Naturally, the accelerated adoption of new technology increases the likelihood of deployment problems and performance issues.

MANAGING MASSIVE DATA VOLUME

DataPower publishes performance metrics that you can view using the administrative console of the appliance, but the amount of data that is exposed is overwhelming for most users.

SEEING THE DETAIL QUICKLY

Luckily, DataPower appliances provide a variety of interfaces that communicate status and performance data, so that purpose-built monitoring solutions can query these devices and capture alerts. But capturing the data alone does not give you insights about what is really going on in the many business services that are being driven through DataPower appliances every second of the day.

PREDICTIVE AND PROACTIVE

Today, DevOps teams and users of enterprise services are looking for a way to get instant insights from machine data exposed by DataPower appliances, so that they can respond to problems – even anticipate problems – and take actions faster.

ANALYTICS ENGINE

To do these things well, you really need an analytics engine that can identify issues and place them into application context so that you deal with the issues proactively. And this is where having the right tooling in place can make a big difference in the time and effort required to keep DataPower services running smoothly.

3 Key ways to Improve your DataPower Performance (Video Presentation)