Overview

Being an integration product for the aviation market, the A:Hub implements a wide set of modular functionality that can be added to the customer's installation when the need arises. The following picture set illustrates the different functional layers and the organizational stakeholders of an A:Hub.

Highlights

  • The A:Hub supports service-oriented architectures and event driven flows
  • It supports both state-of-the-art and legacy technologies
  • It comes with a rich set of aviation standards: communication protocols, message formats and business object models
  • It provides storage, integration and consistency of aviation-related business objects
  • It publishes and broadcasts its data to subscribers
  • It allows further integration business logic, e.g. normalization, en­rich­ments, triggers, filters and other pro­cessing – content or context based - to be added as required
  • It acts both as a plain middleware and as a perfect complement to an Enterprise Service Bus (ESB)

Standard message types (excerpt)

The A:Hub supports all essential data formats employed by the aviation industry:

Message type Notes Context
ACARS OOOI Downlinks (ARINC) ARINC
APWX Airport Weather Information Lido
AMAN Arrival Manager CFMU
ASM Adhoc Schedule Message IATA
ASTERIX All Purpose Structured EuroControl Radar Information Exchange CFMU
ATFC Filed ATC Flight Plan CFMU
ATFCM Air Traffic Flow and Capacity Management (SAM, SLC, SRM, ...) CFMU
BIR Baggage Irregularity Repository (World Tracer) SITA
DCS/LT List of Passengers, Boarding Summaries Amadeus Altéa
DCS/STG Seatmap Information Amadeus Altéa
DCS/FM RequestFlightImage, RetrieveDocForRamp, TripFile Amadeus Altéa
DFLT Flight Information Lido
DIV Aircraft Division Message (AHM 782) IATA
DPI Departure Planning Information CFMU
EFD ETFMS Flight Data CFMU
FDM Flight Details Message NetLine/OPS
FUM Flight Update Message CFMU
FMM Fuel Monitoring Message (AHM 782) IATA
Fuel Ticket FuelPlus Fuel Ticket FuelPlus
IFPS Integrated Initial Flight Plan Processing System CFMU
LDM Load/Distribution Message (AHM 583) IATA
LOA List of Airports, Airport Detail Information Lido
METAR Weather data NOAA
TAF Weather data (Forecast) NOAA
MVT Aircraft Movement (AHM 780) IATA
NOTAM Notice to Airmen ICAO
OFP Operational Flight Plan Lido
OTA RES Reservation Systems OTA
PTM Passenger Transfer Message IATA
SAMS Services of airport coordination IATA/ICAO
SITA Telex Type B message type SITA
SLOT Slot Information Lido
SSIM Standard Schedule plan format IATA
SSM Standard Schedule Message IATA
WABI Weight & Balance (Fuel Order) Information Lido

Such support of all data formats shown above means: The A:Hub can be assembled for the majority of application scenarios, without any further adjustments.

In addition we have developed a variety of proprietary formats to connect airports, service providers and application ser­vice providers like AMADEUS.

And finally, every optional data format – even beyond the standards – can be added by configuration or customization, thus making one-stop solutions possible.

Standard communication protocols (excerpt)

The A:Hub technology supports not only recent, but also established standards.

Protocol Notes
Apache ActiveMQ Enterprise messageing/queueing service
Apache Qpid Enterprise queueing service, implementing the Advanced Message Queueing Protocol (AMQP)
CORBA Based on defined IDLs
DCE/RPC Unix close TPC/IP based, mainly used in Air Traffic Control
FastCGI For hight-speed interactions with web servers
FDE/TCP Mainly used in Air Traffic Control, based on TCP/IP
FDE/X25 Mainly used in Air Traffic Control, based on X25
File Cyclic monitoring of file system changes in order to pick-up new and modified files
S/FTP Standard file transfers to/from remote FTP servers
HTTP/S Stateless request/reply transfers
IBM Websphere MQ Enterprise messaging/queuing service
OpenLDAP For direct access to directory services
Oracle Advanced Queue For tight communication with an Oracle application
Oracle SQL*Net Using Oracle OCI for configurable polling/changelog tables
POP3 Mail pick-ups
Red Hat Enterprise MRG Another implementation of AMQP (like Apache Qpid)
SCP Secure copy using underlaying SSL protocol
SMTP Mail deliveries
SOAP For WSDL based Web Services
STOMP Protocol for some Enterprise messaging/queuing services via JMS
TIBCO EMS Enterprise messaging/queuing service
XML As an application protocol over a communication protocol, or as the communication protocol over TCP

In addition to the standards mentioned above, any TCP/IP and X25 based communi­cation protocol can be implemented, and third party APIs included. The Data Hub is ready to interact with standard products like TIBCO, Microsoft BizTalk and others, making it easy to integrate into state of the art IT environments.

Business Object Model by Manager

The A:Hub’s core works with a consistent, aviation-specific data model, to which rules are attached, for instance about the integration process.

Here is an overview of the available entity cluster:

Data Model Notes
Aircraft Rotations Sequences of aircraft events
Airspaces Airspace controlled by air traffic control
Baggage Transfer Baggage routing, lost&found, ...
Master Data Airports, Time zones, UTC offsets, …
Crew Record Crew base and activity data
Crew Rotations Crew trips, shifts, legs, ground transport, activities
Crew Roster Assignments of crew to crew rotations (trips)
Flights Flights, segments, legs, movements, ...
Ground Traffic Airside and landside processes
Passenger Connex Passenger transit and transfer information
Routings Waypoints, ...
Telex Telex journalling
Tows Aircraft tow events
Weather Journalled actuals and forecasts

With this system an ideal data basis will be created for aviation-specific applications, comprising different layers of network planning, from the operational headquarters of different hubs and stations down to the processes airside and landside.

Wherever useful, the entities are connected by primary and secondary keys to flight event, ground event and aircraft rotation. They allow an optimal load in one step for different comprehensive surveys.

The modeling offers many customized versions, on the one hand by the range of typical but optional sub-models and attributes, and on the other through a relatively simple expansion of additional client-based attributes on the basis of configurable data dic­tionaries.

Indexing the entities is based on experience of services in business-critical environ­ments, optimized through multiple testing methods and product generations.

Functionality

By being connected to partner applications and services, the A:Hub adds value to the data flow by applying integration-related logic and adding further functionality.

Functionality Notes
Storage Stores events, messages and business objects
Integration Merges differently represented objects, and links together information from different stakeholders, thus providing a normalized and consistent view of the information
Business Logic Adds integration specific business logic such as content and context based processing, routing, filtering, notification and support for process workflows
Distribution Makes the data and all updates available to all stakeholders. Distribution types: broadcast, multicast, publish/subscribe

Distribution Models (Message Layers)

After integrating the data, the A:Hub is able to publish messages in various forms, de­pending on the requirements of the subscribing applications:

  • Native Layer
    The original incoming message. This enables the A:Hub to act as a simple message hub
  • Format Layer
    The original incoming message after conversion to a unified object representation. For example, an ASM text represented in its XML form
  • Integration Layer
    Messages in the integrated Business Object Model either as delta messages ("updates", "events") or state messages (always the full set of attributes)

Integration Logic

An A:Hub not only forwards messages after converting them, it also integrates data from different sources into a single consistent view. The required logic splits down into the following categories for which the A:Hub offers implementations.

  • Integration rules engines
    Merges ICAO/IATA/CFMU-worlds (fusion), aircraft rotations, …
  • Extensive update rules
    Blocks messages of good quality in favor of the ones of better quality ones
  • Access to contextual information
    Takes data outside the delivered message into account
  • Triggers (event, time, user input)
    Supports or even drives complex business processes
  • Additional functionality
    Adds configurable data trans­formation, time zone handling, enrich­ments, …
  • Own modules for complex tasks
    Examples include workflow management and a configurable notification engine

Integration Challenges

Integrating data from different sources can be like combining apples and pears into a single fruit. The A:Hub addresses various integration challenges with smart solutions. Here are just a few examples:

    Update rules based on data quality

    • Different actualities (earliest) and qualities (best)
    • Precision (manually entered, defaults, lack of data, ...)
    • Scheduled data only

    Sources

    • Handling of native keys
    • Two movements versus leg
    • Duplicated messages

    Technical

    • Wrong merges (Remerge, ...)
    • Data Volume (EFDs …)

    Functional

    • Diversions
    • Cancellations
    • Reinstates
    • Delays
    • Returns

    Event times

    • Gate based vs. runway based
    • UTC vs. local time

    ICAO / IATA

    • Ambiguity (airport 1:n match)
    • Code families (aircraft IATA groups)

Business Logic

Beside typical integration logic, the A:Hub can add business logic to support processes and workflows, or add more business-specific services. Modules that have already been implemented include the following:

Module Description
Context Filtering Configurable filters based on criteria with access to object‘s key/data attributes and to context information (other objects)
Update rules Configurable rules based on object‘s key/data attributes
Generic SOAP Service Provides generic SOAP/HTTP(S) access to single object states
Query Service Provides service to request batches of object states from outside
Aircraft Assignment Automatic FIFO assignments of aircraft to flight legs
CDM Merge CDM flight merge/demerge from CDM Hub
Deicing Workflow Coordinates deicing interaction between cockpit, deicing provider and Hub Control
Purser Information List Generates departure, arrival and connex information for use by the crew on board
Data Pool Feeder Pushes A:Hub changes to a Data Pool or to a Data Warehouse
SQL Script Service Administration and execution of SQL scripts with the A:Hub Cockpit as frontend
Shell Script Service Administration and execution of shell scripts with the A:Hub Cockpit as frontend

A:Hub Cockpit

The A:Hub is fully integrated into the A:Foundation environment and therefore smoothly connects to web clients and mobile clients via the Portal. Facilitating this infrastructure, the A:Hub comes with its operation and administration frontend called A:Hub Cockpit. With it, the operator monitors and controls the system, and the admini­strator maintains its configuration. The A:Hub Cockpit also offers access for regular users to the SQL and shell script services.

Monitor system status

  • Monitor every A:Hub module with an intuitive user interface. It allows fil­tering and sorting by the con­figur­ed criticality of the modules, by module types, by module groups and others
  • Status lights show the actual state of each module and the status of the whole system
  • Quick access to operator-relevant in­formation including the central and module specific log files
  • Start and stop modules - or module groups, or the whole system - without the need to directly access the application host

Reports

Graphical representations of ...

  • ... application performance indicators, e.g. number of input and output messages and latency times in daily and monthly charts, including calculation of average figures
  • ... system figures, e.g. CPU, memory and swap usage in daily charts including detailed information down to single processes
  • ... storage-relevant data, e.g. usage of file systems in monthly-based charts

Additional features

  • Information widgets for additional information
  • Single sign-on
  • Configuration of user access rights
  • Multitenancy
  • Extensibility
  • SQL script services (user and administrator level)
  • Shell script services (user and administrator level)

Brochure

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