Business & Tech Standards

Integration & Middleware Domain

The Integration and Middleware Domain specifies standards for interoperability and communication between applications operating on different platforms and databases. More specifically, middleware utilities support interactions between the clients and the servers and include messaging, transactions, synchronization, queue, event, inter/intra application communications, and resource management services. Middleware and integration tools will continue to provide DHS with the ability to change database platforms, infrastructure, and applications with minimal impact on DHS's application systems.

From a development standpoint, integration and middleware utilities insulate software engineers from having to understand the complexities of a particular computing environment. To programmers, middleware is a "black box," where understanding the specifics of what happens internally is not required. Just as high-level programming languages, such as Java, COBOL, and C insulate programmers from platform architectures, application communication middleware insulates programmers from the complexities of communication architecture, such as network protocols and message routing.

One principle that governs this domain is to deploy only a minimal number of industry-proven integration and middleware products and to select these products before selecting application development tools, because of the impact of the integration and middleware products on application development tools. The middleware will provide a common interface around distributed applications, allow for a separation between the user interface and business logic, allow for shared components, conform to published security standards, and provide for scalability in the application developed. Lastly, in order to be fully effective, a middleware recovery plan is in effect to protect all components from possible disasters.

This section consists of the following areas:

Data Exchange

This section contains all DHS standards and policies regarding middleware data exchange.

Policy Standards, Templates and Forms

Data Exchange Standards

  • File Transfer FTP Standard
  • TIBCO Managed File Transfer (MFT) — The Social Security Administration, SSA, has developed a network for data transfer consisting of numerous Federal Agencies and all of the State/Territorial business partners. Each State/Territory is a spoke on this “network”. The State(s) in turn must act as the hub for dissemination within their local domain. DHS is the single and only spoke on SSA’s network for sending and receiving all data for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
    The primary data exchange(s) involve DHS and SSA, but business partners and other agencies (both State and Federal concerns) utilize this server connection to move data. Files sent by DHS for “Other” concerns are submitted through the Commonwealth network and manipulated to the “TIBCO” server connection by an automated DHS data transfer system. Each hub and spoke on the federal network has a unique node name.
    SSA has required each spoke to be connected through a VPN tunnel for securing the data content, and have some approved version of TIBCO MFT software to serve as the only means of file transfer.



Open TI Components

Open Transaction Integrator, or OpenTI, is a middleware tool by Unisys that allows Windows clients to access existing Online Transaction Processing (OLTP) systems. OpenTI solution is designed for enterprise-class clients that depend on high-volume transaction processing. OpenTI gives a great advantage to organizations that use legacy OLTP systems and cannot afford to convert entirely to Windows-based systems because it allows new and old technologies to co-exist. This section contains OpenTI Component standards and policies. More information on OpenTI can be found in the Integration and Middleware Domain.


Templates and Forms