Enterprise service bus for dummies: Here's what you need to know

July 25, 2021


ESB or as most people know it, Enterprise service bus, is simply a software architecture integrated by a numerous set of rules and principles that can integrate a series of different applications in a single infrastructure.


This type of software architecture is actually very new, and it was only introduced back at the beginning of the century, however, it has become extremely popular ever since. Through an Enterprise Service Bus, software developers are able to build this type of bus-like architecture but vary depending on what they need and the capabilities they’re looking to offer.


In simpler words, an ESB is a software architecture that is responsible for connecting a series of other softwares or applications together in a bus-type of infrastructure. Think about an ESB as the bridge that connects different applications together, allowing them to communicate with each other and making the user’s experience much easier.


What does an ESB do?


Explaining what an ESB does without getting too much technical words thrown in there might be difficult, but we will give it a shot. Like we said before, all an enterprise does is connect web applications and softwares. An ESB is a bus-like architecture through which software developers can integrate different applications and enable communication between them.


This way, the software apps communicate or “talk” to the bus. To put it simply, the ESB has the responsibility of transferring and transforming information (messages and data) from the system to the user or provider and back. Think about the enterprise service bus as the middle ground that connects different applications in a way they can be independent from the bus structure itself. In other words, the ESB is the transmission channel where signals are either inserted or obtained by the applications connected to it.




How does an Enterprise Service Bus work?


The ESB architecture is a middleware, meaning a software that is there to unify the existing and complex programs and it does so by connection all sorts of applications and miscellaneous services. Now, as to how it works, it does so by distributing the work amongst all the connected components of the different applications.


This way, ESBs are able to keep the work moving, by keeping the applications connected to the bus. In the words of MuleSoft themselves (A ESB software, and a technology Rootstack has worked with): The key focus of the ESB is to decouple systems from each other while also allowing them to freely communicate in a consistent and manageable way.


The concept of an Enterprise service bus itself is genius, however, understanding the process that goes behind this type of architecture is a little bit more complicated. However, it can be resumed to a series of processes that the bus has to perform over and over.




  1. First, the bus takes care of decoupling applications by implementing a messaging server (like JMS or AMQP)
  2. Then, this data is converted into an specific format and travels on the bus
  3. An adapter between the application and the ESB that takes care of organizing the data while also being responsible for talking to the backend application. It basically transforms data from the application to the bus and back.


It is extremely important to keep in mind that the ESB works by implementing canonical messages, meaning that it has a canonical format that that travels on the bus and allows every application to communicate with it and with each other.


Why you should use an ESB?


The benefits of implementing an enterprise service bus architecture are pretty easy to see:


  • It helps increasing organizational agility and productivity levels since it allows developers to easily change, remove or add components to an application.
  • Implementing an enterprise service bus allows developers to escalate their already existing system, and makes exponetion to new applications way easier than it was before.
  • By using an ESB you can do so much than just increasing organizational agility, you can also work and enhance your security components and monitor the transaction performance of your application.


As always, if you’re looking for someone to develop a software application, contact us! We have the technology, knowledge and team force to help you get the solution you need.


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