MOM Doesn’t Always Know Best

This past weekend in the United States, Mother’s Day was celebrated. This special day affords all the opportunity to reflect on, among many other things, the wonderful wisdom imparted over the years from our mothers. In the words of Dr. Benjamin Spock, “I really learned it all from mothers.”
It’s no surprise then, when dealing with the alphabet soup of acronyms that permeate all things IT, one acronym that can’t but help conjure up the sentiment of motherly wisdom is “MOM”.

That acronym has many different meanings, and one such meaning is “Message-Oriented Middleware”.

Countless organizations have recognized the wisdom of implementing a service-oriented architecture with its ability to integrate applications via easily-consumed services. Unfortunately, many SOA strategies are focused on message-oriented systems, and don’t take into consideration another key component of integration, namely file transfer.

In this case, MOM doesn’t always know best.

Message-oriented middleware cannot effectively solve all business integration scenarios. Three common issues related to file transfer that aren’t addressed by message-oriented systems are:

  • Support for legacy applications
  • Support for large volumes of data and batch oriented systems
  • Application integration with partners and customers

Legacy applications know how to generate a file as output for another application to pull in. Then these files are transferred between the servers hosting those applications. The cost and risk of modifying these legacy applications to integrate with a MOM-based solution is often considered too great.

Likewise, many traditional applications, batch up individual transactions and transfer them in bulk to other systems. This can generate very large files. Messaging systems prefer to work at the transactional level with messages of a relatively small size. Batch processes involving large files don’t typically integrate well into a message-oriented system.

Finally, when a business application spans corporate boundaries, most companies will exchange data with their partners or customers by means of electronic files. It is not typically realistic to ask business partners or customers to change the way they conduct business to integrate with your specific messaging implementation.

MOM solutions have their strengths, and those aren’t to be minimized. But today’s SOA needs a way to add file transfer into its infrastructure. That’s what Managed File Transfer (MFT) is designed to do.

MFT drives reliability and security into file movement, and offers services that allow file transfer to participate in a services-oriented architecture.

Unlike message-oriented systems, human Moms like flowers.

We love our MOMs, but even they can’t do everything.

Plus you probably shouldn’t send them flowers.

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