Overview of Interchange
Welcome to the Interchange information page for Commonwealth customers. Interchange is one of the key components of the Shared Application Infrastructure (SAI). The objective of the SAI is to implement both the technical and human resources needed to ensure the customers, business partners and Commonwealth constituents are able to access and interact with the services offered by the Commonwealth in the most seamless, efficient, secure and cost effective manner available to them.
The overall success of the Commonwealth's agency IT systems depends on the ability to integrate across agency boundaries, legacy systems and emerging technologies. Interchange is the door to this capability, allowing us to streamline business processes and reduce the total cost of doing business.
The Legacy CommBridge system is being upgraded by Interchange. Interchange consists of a set of client components and server components. As part of the upgrade, the older IBM MQ Server software is being replaced by a new product offering by IBM called WMQ File Transfer Edition. This product is specifically designed to handle robust file transfers between agencies and partners and still leverages the IBM MQ software to provide guaranteed delivery and other benefits.
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Description of the Enterprise Solution
Application integration means many things to many people and your agency has probably identified a business requirement for applications to work together. Just as employees have to work together to meet business goals, your applications need to do the same. Interchange has the tools you need to integrate the disparate applications and processes and that drive your business.
Interchange is primarily a set of enterprise design patterns specifically developed to enable applications to communicate using files and messages in a standard manner.These design patterns also provide a roadmap for a legacy system to migrate to a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) as well as enable new applications to get started with minimal infrastructure and maintenance on the client side.
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Interchange for Legacy CommBridge Users
Interchange is available today for customers upgrading from Legacy CommBridge who currently use IBM MQ Series. Over time, the Interchange system will extend its offerings to include file transfer options in addition to the IBM WMQ FTE. Such offerings are likely to include FTP, SFTP and FTPS. Many of these future offerings are already in the development and testing phases.
Legacy CommBridge users may be familiar with running an MQ Server in their environment. In the new Interchange system this will likely change. In business terms, your agency is likely to only need some client software. In more technical terms, the overall architecture is moving to more of a "hub and spoke" client-server topology rather than a "point-to-point" server-based topology. Thus, ITD will host the primary file transfer servers and customers will use client-based software for file transfers.
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Interchange is designed to allow for integration of existing applications as well as future integration of new applications. Rules and policies governing the Interchange services are managed independently of the actual data which allows for ease of management without disrupting content. Examples of this service "metadata" include: service delivery rules , static and dynamic routing and security policies.
Additional benefits include the use of secure reliable server technology combined with the flexibility of a wide range of application adapters to meet specific application needs. The current Enterprise File Transfer Service offerings now include the use of open standards based protocols such as FTP, FTPS and SFTP as well as the widely adopted IBM MQ protocol. The addition of these protocols provides more options to communicate with business partners outside the MAGNET network where system and policy constraints may require a specific implementation.
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Interchange will provide agencies access to a centrally-managed system in a secure environment for applications that deliver sensitive data. This will enable you to support your growing business needs, refocusing your IT resources from technology alone to your core business mission: providing business partners and Commonwealth citizens services that are fast, reliable and secure while at the same time saving money and time.
To work cooperatively in solving business problems, business services must be immune to disruptions caused by hardware, software, or network failures. The Interchange provides high availability and and-to-end reliability guaranteeing that documents are successfully delivered between services and endpoints, and that services are available-24-7.
The challenge of integrating applications with business partners across the Commonwealth requires a highly scalable integration system. The Interchange provides the ability to easily integrate applications to ensure that sensitive information is delivered where and when it is needed.
By using Interchange, you don't have to worry about if its possible to integrate with partners or how long it will take
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FAQ's for CommBridge Customers
1.) What does the Interchange solution consist of?
A: The Interchnage solution consists of a set of client and server components and is primarily a set of enterprise design patterns specifically developed to enable applications to communicate using files and messages in a standard way. As part of the upgrade, the older IBM MQ server software is being replaced by the new product offering by IBM called the WMQ File Transfer Edition, a product designed to handle robust file transfers between agencies and their partners, and leverages the IBM MQ software. The ITD SAI group is hosting the MQ FTE servers in most cases.
2.) How will the upgrade impact my current file transfers?
A: Interchange has been designed to be backward compatible with the existing legacy CommBridge application. Therefore, your existing file transfers will proceed unaffected by the upgrade.
3.) Why is upgrading to Interchange important?
A: Interchange provides the critical CommBridge services your agency relies on but with improved system performance and reduced need for Capital funds. Interchnage is an important step toward the flexible, centrally managed, secure, efficent and service-oriented technology vision the Commonwealth specified in Executive Order 504(see also, The Enterprise Solution Adoption Advisory Memorandum).
4.) How do I upgrade while my agency is conducting critical business functions?
A: The Interchange Upgrade Project enables agencies to transition seamlessly without interruption to their business.
5.) Will I have to purchase new hardware? Can this Interchange/FTE run on my existing hardware?
A: Generally speaking, you will be able to use your existing CommBridge hardware if you are upgrading to an Interchnage/FTE-Client Installation which is the most common situation. However, if your agency requires its own Interchange/FTE-Server then you will most likely require
- additional hardware (can use spare Machine)
- parallel environment (e.g. AIX Ipar or Virtual Machine)
6.) What is the Interchange Pattern Offering to date?
- File.dir.drop (secure) Pre-configured Offering
- File.Pick-up (secure) Tested
- E-mail notification (QA)
- Browser based delivery (QA)
- Browser based receipts (QA)
- Browser based tracking /auditioning (secure) (QA)
7.) What type of resources will I need for the upgrade to Interchange? How long will the upgrade take?
A: The matrix below should be used as a guide for your upgrade to Interchange as well as the CommBridge Upgrade Capture document here.
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CommBridge Migration: Roles & Responsibilities Matrix
ITD-Interchange Tech. Team
Determine if Agency Software can co-exist with new IBM MQ Services
Tech.resources to identify number of interfaces to Partner Hosts. Provide List. Business Owner Approvals for any de-commissioning activity
From 1 week to several depending on number of listed/non-listed partner hosts identified
System Admin Tasks + Software Installation/Test/QA/Production Start
Create New Ops. System Define end-to-end Business Process with pre-or post processing Steps
Depends on how fast the new Ops System User groups are created. When the end-to-end Business Process can be run
IC Team will Verify that installation is complete
Run the end-to-end Business Process
After successful completion of the end-to-end Business Process deemed appropriate by the Agency on the Upgrade platform
9.) How do I submit a request for an upgrade to Interchange?
A: Click on the link Request for File Transfer Document and please complete the information requested specified in the document and submit to the Interchange Upgrade Team by Wednesday, December 1, 2010. This document is intended to capture information regarding your machine and existing installation. The information we receive will be used by the Interchange Upgrade Team to verify your machine/queue installation specifics as we begin to prepare for the new Interchange installation and preserve backward compatability with the existing CommBridge interfaces.
10.) Is there any cost to agencies for the upgrade to Interchange?
A: No, there is no cost for the upgrade.
In order to provide customers of Interchange with excellent customer service, we would appreciate if you would contact our Interchange team with any questions/concerns or simply provide comments to this wiki page. All feeback is welcome.
Interchange Program Manager Danielle.Ondrick@state.ma.us
Interchange Communications Coordinator Stephanie.Marsan@state.ma.us
or simply send an email to at Interchange@Massmail.state.ma.us
To facilitate standard communications between Interchange and Migration agencies and partners, an Outlook template was created. The following information is an example of the template. The actual Outlook template is attached here.
Dear <Name(s) of Agency Administrator(s)>:
The Interchange Migration team has configured <interface name(s)>. Your authorized partners can use Interchange File Transfer to transfer files to <list of system addresses>.
As a prerequisite, you need to use Interchange Administrative Services to authorize them for each of the <system group name(s) for your service(s)>.
If you are unfamiliar with these tasks, please refer to the Interchange Help System or the Interchange Screencasts.
Please Note: You can also get Help by just clicking on the Help button at the Interchange Login page.
<Name of Interchange Migration Engineer>
Interchange Migration Team
This Outlook template is also attached here as a download, that you can save on your hard drive and use as an email template in Outlook for standard communicates between Interchange and Migration operations.
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Support for Interchange
For Interchange support, please call CommonHelp at 1-866-888-2808 or use COMiT to open an Interchange service request. Please email ITD-DL-InterchangeSupport@massmail.state.ma.us with questions.