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What is Neuron?

Put simply, Neuron is an Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) and integration platform built entirely with Microsoft technologies.  While specific definitions of ESB’s vary, there is consistent agreement within the industry as to the types of capabilities an ESB should provide; Neuron provides all of these, and more.  These capabilities include:

  • Message routing (content based, static, rules based)
  • Mediation (protocol bridging, LOB adapters)
  • Message processing (transformation, enhancement/augmentation)
  • Management (auditing, monitoring,, logging)
  • Quality of Service (security, delivery reliability, transactions)

The following diagram depicts a fictional Neuron configuration illustrating interconnections in a heterogeneous environment, as well as the major Neuron functional components.

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Figure 1 – Neuron Enterprise Configuration

Using Neuron in your solution can help you quickly realize a variety of important benefits, including:

  • Quickly integrate your systems and applications
    • Insert/retrieve data from databases with no coding
    • Interconnect heterogeneous systems, legacy applications, and the newest technologies with no coding
  • Leverage your existing assets
    • Utilize current developer skills.  No retraining, or special tools required
    • Use adapters to connect to your applications and systems
  • Easily extend your applications
    • Add workflow with no coding
    • Add processes, with rules, transformation, logic, etc., with no coding
  • Gain visibility into your business
    • Extract basic information from messages for business indicators
    • Populate data warehouses, and analysis stores in real time
  • Create a powerful, reusable infrastructure
    • Common code is in the ESB, not applications
    • IT resources can manage infrastructure with no impact to applications/services
    • Evolves with you, and in support of your objectives
    • Get monitoring, management and administration for “free”
    • Utilize industry standards

Neuron provides a middleware messaging layer that isolates and decouples communicating parties (services or applications), allowing them to effectively exchange messages.  When using Neuron, applications and/or services simply publish messages onto the bus, without regard to the type or number of consumers; similarly, they may subscribe to specific messages or groups of messages, without regard to the source of the messages.  This frees the developers from spending time on messaging business logic and allows them to concentrate on the specific business logic associated with manipulating the message data.

Neuron is built on top of the .NET Framework and fully leverages WCF, WF, and other framework components, using an open architecture that embraces extensibility.  Users can develop custom adapters, messaging processing processes, and system level services to extend the out-of-the box functionality while maintaining consistent tooling and operational characteristics.

Developing solutions using Neuron is straightforward, familiar, and consistent with existing .NET development processes and tools.  Neuron developer extensions to Visual Studio allow developers to seamlessly combine their Web services and application development with Neuron configuration elements and code snippets.

Neuron configuration elements accessible from Visual Studio are read only and allow developers to concentrate specifically on the business logic, rather than the plumbing.  This also allows system architects to manage the ESB configuration without impact to the developers, such as security, transport characteristics, endpoint addresses, transaction requirements, etc.

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Managing Neuron is simple and straightforward using the Neuron Explorer UI, the single management point for all Neuron functions and capabilities.  The Neuron Explorer is a centralized management tool that can be used on any machine that has access to the Neuron ESB Server, perfect for supporting federated ESB architectures.  Configuration is persisted in an XML file making management, sharing, and high availability solutions simple and easy.  The Neuron Explorer supports both online and offline scenarios allowing solutions to be maintained even without a connection to the Neuron ESB Server.

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