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Government Integration Hub

Government Integration Hub for COVID-19 Response Available Now!

Executives and thought leaders across the Federal, State and Local government landscape have acknowledged a critical need for near real-time access to accurate data in support of COVID-19 emergency responses. The effectiveness of the response efforts is being significantly hindered by the absence of connectivity across the various enterprises which have the data needed to expedite timely and accurate responses.

The establishment of a real-time Government Integration Hub can have a profound impact on aggregating the necessary data from all its disparate locations and facilitating the expeditious analysis of potential solutions. Such a Government Integration Hub must have:

  • Massive Scale—ability to aggregate all data from across the Federal, State and Local sources.
  • Real-Time—response time to inquiries within seconds.
  • Full Auditability/Traceability—validate data all the way back to its trusted source.
  • High Security—ensure the data is available only to trusted requesters.
  • Disparate Systems—must have comprehensive connectivity to ALL data sources whether on-prem and cloud-based, mainframes, legacy applications or cloud services and data lake platforms like Azure.
  • Data Independence—ability to accept, process and generate any kind of data in any format.
  • Robustness—a technology platform that is proven in Banking, High-Tech Supply Chain, Fortune 500 Financial Systems, and the DoD.

Today, the webMethods platform from Software AG meets these criteria and is processing billions of mission critical transactions for some of the largest government organizations and corporations in the world. For example, the Government Integration Hub operates today at the IRS at the core of their current modernization efforts.

Using webMethods, Software AG has created a Government Integration Hub platform that is up and running in the Microsoft Azure Government cloud and is ready to be used by the people who need answers. Contact us to discuss how to leverage the Government Integration Hub in your environment today!

Government Integration Hub by Software AG

WHY IS A GOVERNMENT INTEGRATION HUB NEEDED?

The recent pandemic has clearly uncovered the need for the world to improve collaboration.  This is because even though we are a digitally connected global community, we are not a data sharing one.  We have seen the impact of this during the pandemic, as leaders struggled to collect data to facilitate decision making.  Unfortunately, this is not an isolated problem for any single region, country, or state.  Yet we all must rely on data to understand our current situation and help us try to influence the future.  This is equally true for researchers pursuing a vaccine, or regional governors searching for ways to optimize supply chains and other resources.  Enabling technologies like cloud computing, big data storage, and analytics can help facilitate actionable decision making.

But a fundamental underlying challenge is centralized access to accurate and timely data.  This pandemic has exposed the fact that, while there is a lot of data available, access to it in a timely fashion and at the right level of detail is the real challenge.  Inaccurate, incomplete, or even simply premature data can lead to poor decisions and cause significant issues in planning and strategizing.  As the situation evolves over time, data requirements can shift and create more barriers to successful outcomes.

Today, data resides in thousands of distributed systems across the world.  All these systems are different, with no common data structure, and are owned and controlled by various organizations.  One may argue that it is unreasonable to expect all this data could be consolidated to a common location.  However, it is completely realistic to expect that technology exists to be able to extend a reach to any system of record, access data needed, and move it where it can be fused and analyzed to support better decision making. This is exactly where integration software can step in and help.  Integration software allows systems, applications, organizations, countries, and other geopolitical entities to move data across technology boundaries to make it accessible where needed.

The Government Integration Hub, powered by the webMethods integration software, solves this problem by making it possible to share any data in any format – to and from virtually any system.  The Integration Hub is responsible for converting to and from various data structures and standard formats.  This can be accomplished without requiring changes to existing systems.  Further, it provides standard encryption capabilities to protect data as it is moved to its destination for analysis.  The hub manages the complex routing of data providers to data consumers.

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INTEGRATING LOCAL, STATE, AND FEDERAL GOVERNMENTS

While these challenges are relevant to emergency response, it is a micro-illustration of a much larger systemic data sharing problem. Some agencies have addressed data sharing by putting integration hubs in place. For example, the IRS uses an integration hub to support various data ingestion, transformation, and routing use cases – including the electronic processing of every U.S. tax return. The U.S. Navy recently migrated the integration hub used to route data in and out of its ERP system to the cloud to better support its growing data integration points.

The government’s ability to share data across agencies not only provides value for better decision making, it also helps lower the overall cost of managing the data. It allows investments already made in various systems of record to continue to provide value to the taxpayer. It also provides a key abstraction layer between data producers and data consumers that allows each agency to modernize at its own pace.

The concept of moving data into a centralized repository for reporting and analysis is not new. However, enabling technologies like cloud computing combined with ubiquitous access to distributed systems helps make this possible in real-time – not just in batches. For example, the mobile device in a State Trooper’s patrol car uses an integration hub to query various systems (not just warrants) to get a consolidated view of a motorist during a traffic stop. Data can be sourced from State Police, Department of Transportation, or even the FBI. With an integration hub in place, this data can be consumed to increase public safety, while individually protecting each governing agency’s system of record.

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FACILITATING AUTOMATED DATA TRANSFORMATION & ROUTING

As data sharing between government agencies improves by leveraging an integration hub, the ability to audit and provide visibility into the transformation and routing of data between providers and consumers becomes even more crucial. The integration hub will be able to connect agencies to industry partners and extend their ability to share data. The hub can easily automate multi-business processes and exchange data with any industry partners in real-time.

The hub automates the tasks of onboarding industry partners and will allow agencies to manage them by using a shared administrative infrastructure. For each industry partner, agencies can define:

  • All supported messaging transports
  • Document routing information
  • Processing information
  • Security certificates
  • Contact details

The hub can be extended to allow agencies to define and store any profile data needed to automate and manage data sharing and ensure transactions are sent and received securely.

Managing many industry partners can take a great deal of time and effort. The integration hub provides self-service capabilities to streamline this process as well as empower industry partners to track and manage their own transactions. Industry partners can easily manage their own profiles and track their own data exchange activity, reducing administrative efforts and costs enhancing industry partner relationships.

The hub will allow agencies to reduce errors and inefficiencies by implementing consistent and re-usable data processing rules. Processing rules provide flexibility with industry partner communications and ensure consistent and reliable data exchanges. Hub administrators can define rules for data processing based on data and/or industry partner criteria to ensure correct transformations and routing.

To expedite the onboarding of data providers, the integration hub provides graphical mapping, orchestration, and testing tools, as well as a library of pre-built data transformation services. With these capabilities, agencies can quickly map and transform business data to and from any format. This simplifies and streamlines integration with any application or data store in the cloud or on-premises.

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WHY WEBMETHODS?

The webMethods Platform is the integration hub for some of the largest and most complex organizations and corporations around the world. This proven platform not only runs in some of the most secure government networks, but it also is designed to scale to meet the most demanding real time data integration requirements. The platform is equipped with an in-memory data store that provides speed of execution and enhances scalability.

With connectors to nearly every type of application and data store (including legacy COBOL and mainframe-based systems) combined with visual drag-and-drop mapping tooling, the platform provides an ideal foundation for real-time data transformation and routing. The platform is flexible and supports deployment to on-premises data centers or to any cloud provider. It is architecture agnostic, supporting highly available centralized models as well as decentralized microservices-based architectures leveraging containers. With flexibility and scalability, running webMethods in the Microsoft Azure Government Cloud makes it an ideal option for powering the Government Integration Hub.

The ability to run and reside in the Government Cloud while still being able to connect to systems on-premises is worth mentioning, as almost all government and non-government entities will continue to run systems in that bi-modal fashion for years to come.

The Government Integration Hub Difference:

  1. Powerful Hybrid-Integration with on-premise, cloud or hybrid support — Run in any infrastructure platform (e.g. On-Premise, AWS, Azure) with support for container technologies such as Docker, Kubernetes, and related ecosystems. Also, able to run in the Government Cloud while still being able to connect to systems on-premises is most significant as almost all government and non-government entities will continue to run systems in that bi-modal fashion for years to come.
  2. Comprehensive and unified — a single, unified platform with comprehensive connectivity to nearly every type of application and data store (including legacy COBOL and mainframe-based systems) combined with low-code visual drag-and-drop tooling and API creation capabilities, the platform provides an ideal foundation for a real-time, secure, reusable, high-throughput processing layer spanning existing mainframes, applications, services, big data, and application program interfaces (APIs) — on-premises or anywhere in the cloud (e.g. Azure, AWS) — to accelerate and enhance your modernization efforts.
  3. “Best of Breed” Design— Each component in webMethods has a specialized key role to the execution of the full initiative and is leveraged for what it is best at in a seamless and well-integrated fashion. Also, the layering in place between UIs and “Edge” processes, versus “Core” mission-critical integration points and key processes ensures robust and secure solutions throughout.
  4. Low Code — Designed to empower users to visually model and create complex service orchestrations, data mappings, and external system connectivity much faster than traditional development methods. With webMethods, complex tasks are offered as connectors or built-in services and accessible to users in graphical fashion, making it easier to concentrate on business features as opposed to spending time and effort on “plumbing” or coding.
  5. Secure — webMethods is built and accredited to adhere to a wide variety of security standards at all levels—from the operating system all the way to the end user interface. It embraces many cryptography standards and techniques including symmetric and asymmetric (public key) encryption for the protection of data both at-rest and in-transit and can selectively apply encryption as needed. The platform is continuously and rigorously tested, and solutions built upon it have achieved ATO in numerous Federal Agencies. Agencies have applied the Risk Management Framework (RMF) to validate the platform’s security posture and relevant security controls, which includes holistic and exhaustive STIG evaluations to ensure compliance.
  6. Highly-Availability and Scalable— The webMethods platform has built-in support for both stateful and stateless clustering for all its components and can be made highly available without data loss across regions and processing sites for most active-active or active-failover scenarios. With flexible horizontal scaling, any processing component can be dynamically scaled out in order to create large-scale API-centric architectures that are capable of processing 1000s of requests/transaction per second to many different types of clients (Mainframe, Enterprise, Web, and Mobile platforms) over many different standards.

Large government agencies as well as commercial organizations have all taken advantage of such unique characteristics and capabilities to successfully modernize and integrate their critical enterprise systems.

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GOVERNMENT INTEGRATION HUB SOLUTION ARCHITECTURE

The Government Integration Hub combines the following capabilities:

  1. A secure API gateway that acts as a main proxy for API access from external consumers to allow only the APIs that are specifically allowed and follow the required set of mandatory policies. The API Gateway enhances security by enforcing common threat protection mechanisms and ensuring that the customer-facing APIs follow a well-defined set of approved policies, such as security enforcement (e.g. Authentication tokens), traffic monitoring and management (e.g. throttling), mediation (e.g. conversion between standards such as SOAP/REST), transformations and rules to external and internal developers, partners and other consumers.
  2. A brandable API Portal for developers and contractors to find, read about, discuss and test APIs. API Portal provides a consumer-centric UI for the discovery of APIs. The portal exposes API documentation, manages developer onboarding process through workflows, provides usage analytics, and allows your developers to test and use the APIs for new business uses.
  3. A lean, scalable integration runtime capable of exposing all the necessary service endpoints to the various types of consumers via multiple formats (e.g. REST, SOAP, JMS, WebSockets, etc.) and performing all the needed data transformations, aggregations, and enrichment tasks that would enhance the customer’s experience with the platform. With a rich set of pre-built and well-tested connectors (300+), whether you need to enrich the message flow with data from mainframes, internal or external applications, custom databases, or other messaging-driven apps, webMethods can do it in a quick and efficient fashion, requiring only simple UI interactions compared to extensive coding. The platform excels at integrating virtually any system or application including mainframe legacy systems and custom code. The platform supports many data formats, such as XML, JSON, EDI, and user-defined flat files, as well as transports and protocols such as AMQP, HTTP/S, FTP/S, SFTP, SOAP, REST, JMS, or MQTT and SMTP. Finally, everything in the webMethods platform is an API that can be called, triggered, scheduled, and monitored, resulting in a highly flexible platform with components that are well-integrated together, yet loosely coupled.
  4. A comprehensive business-to-business (B2B) trading network engine enables your agencies to connect to other government agencies, organizations, and partners in order to securely and reliably exchange business documents and transactions with any of the identified partners in your network. The business documents can be in any format recognized by two partners, such as XML or flat file. Trading Networks is the base through which webMethods platform support numerous eBusiness Standards (eStandards) such as RosettaNet, EDI, ebXML Messaging Service, HL7, FIHR and more than 300 other types of transaction standards.
  5. A secure Managed File Transfer (MFT) component allows you to exchange large files with agencies and partners with security, reliability, and automation in mind. It lets you centrally manage file transfers using a modern web user interface, set up transfer schedules, configure multiple users/partners recipients, define multiple routing rules and targets for the transferred files, and monitor transfers in real-time with built-in analytics dashboards. Finally, using uses the latest security and encryption techniques, files can be transferred securely all the way through.
  6. A high-throughput horizontally distributed messaging engine designed from the ground-up with performance, scalability, high-availability, security and reliability in mind. webMethods allows organizations to create large-scale API-request and messaging-centric architectures that are capable of processing 1000s of messages per second to many different types of clients (Mainframe, Enterprise, Web, and Mobile platforms) over many different standards.
  7. A distributed in-memory caching component, capable of storing/caching 100s of Gigabytes (GBs) of information In-Memory, for consistent low latency microseconds access. This component can drastically reduce latency and improve system performance to far exceed the requirements of 5,000 messages per second with <10 second latencies.
  8. Comprehensive Management and Monitoring, capable of identifying all critical issues and inefficiencies for quicker reaction times and continuous process improvements. The management component can also centrally operationalize all aspects of the webMethods components (configuration, binary fixes, installation of extra modules) from a central monitoring web interface.
  9. Complete DevSecOps and CI/CD support providing a complete solution to all aspects of Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery and automated provisioning: Support for infrastructure-as-code and remote-installation management, powerful local development workstation with rapid-development tooling, module dependency management, integration with Source Code Management (SCM) tools such as Bitbucket, integration with continuous automation tools such as Jenkins, and creation of Automated JUnit Tests with built-in visual tools.
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STRONG PARTNERSHIP WITH MICROSOFT AZURE GOVERNMENT CLOUD

Running our webMethods platform in the Azure Government Cloud makes it an ideal option for powering the Government Integration Hub. While the webMethods platform delivers its business benefits to you, Azure cloud offers all the reliability, redundancy, and scalability that the solution demands. Leveraging cloud and security best practices throughout, the multi-tiers webMethods architecture in Azure Government cloud is scalable (auto scaling), high available (multiple regions, zones), secure (firewalls, private subnets, security groups), and flexible (updating configuration / topology is easy using Azure Portal and APIs).

Additionally, we follow latest DEVSECOPS practices with complete “infrastructure-as-code” and continuous “automated provisioning” / “automated testing” / “automated vulnerability scanning”.

Conceptual Azure cloud Architecture

The ability to run and reside in the Government Cloud while still being able to connect to systems on-premises is most significant as almost all government and non-government entities will continue to run systems in that bi-modal fashion for years to come.

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