Is Cisco AON the new-age message broker?

* Cisco aims at application integration

In last week's first newsletter, we stated that a company's business and functional managers perceive the value of IT as coming primarily from applications, and not from infrastructure components such as the company's WAN. We also stated that as a result of this perception, we must continually find ways to identify how the WAN can add value to the company's key applications.

Cisco recently announced its Application-Oriented Networking (AON) platform and has referred to it as one of the company's most ambitious initiatives. Cisco also claims that AON helps an enterprise to transition to new architectures, such as service-oriented architecture (SOA). AON is clearly intended to introduce functionality into the WAN that potentially adds significant value to a company's suite of applications.

Information flows between applications in a series of messages that describe events, requests, and replies. An example of such a message would be an electronic purchase order from one system to another. Since there is not a standard that defines the message structures and formats, each application has a unique interface. This creates application silos; e.g., applications that cannot communicate with each other.

AON is intended to address the problem of application integration. One of the common ways to perform application integration today is through a message broker that sits between the applications and translates the disparate message structures and formats between them.

IBM's WebSphere Business Integration Message Broker is one of the leading message brokers. As part of the AON announcement, Cisco announced that it would embed the WebSphere client into AON.

The next newsletter will continue the discussion of AON.

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