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Message-oriented middleware

Message-oriented middleware

Message-oriented middleware definition

Message-oriented middleware (MOM) is a way for distributed systems to send and receive messages (data packets) to each other. The systems don’t have to be connected at the same time to exchange these messages, which makes communication flexible.

See also: middleware, IoT middleware, message broker, distributed system, application programming interface

Types of message-oriented middleware

  • Point-to-point messaging systems. In this model, messages go from one sender to one receiver. The message stays in a queue until the receiver retrieves it.
  • Publish-subscribe systems. In these systems, messages are published to a particular message topic. Many subscribers can listen to and receive messages from the topic.
  • Multicast messaging. This involves sending a message to several receivers at once.
  • Content-based routing. Here, the messages are sent based on their content rather than pre-defined paths.
  • Request-reply messaging. This is a system where the sender waits for a reply message as a response.

How message-oriented middleware works

  1. An application (sender) creates a message with information for another application (receiver).
  2. In a point-to-point model, the sender application places the message in a queue. The message stays there until the receiver is ready to handle it. In a publish-subscribe model, the message is instead published to a specific topic where many receivers can pick it up.
  3. Optional: In more complex systems, message transfers are managed by message brokers. They can route messages, transform their formats, and ensure message delivery.
  4. The receiver application gets the message from either the queue or the topic. In the point-to-point model, the message gets removed from the queue after being read.
  5. After receiving the message, the receiver uses it for its tasks, like updating information, starting other processes, or sending back responses.
  6. The receiver may send back an acknowledgment to the sender that the message was received. If there’s a problem with the message, the system may try again or set the message aside for later investigation.

Use cases of message-oriented middleware

  • Financial services. MOM is used for fast and secure banking operations like sending money and updating account balances.
  • Telecommunications. MOM helps handle network alerts, such as detecting system failures or traffic spikes. It’s used for keeping track of phone call details and generating billing information in real time.
  • Healthcare. MOM is used for sharing patient data and medical records among different healthcare systems and providers. It can also track patient vital signs and alert medical staff about critical changes.
  • E-commerce. MOM helps keep track of orders and inventory across different locations and systems. It allows suppliers, warehouses, and retail outlets to communicate among each other.
  • Manufacturing and logistics. MOM allows machines and systems on a production line to communicate with each other. It helps track the movement of goods across various logistics networks.
  • IoT device. MOM is important for sending messages between different devices and central systems.

Further reading

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