Commerce Server Architecture
For the latest version of Commerce Server 2007 Help, see the Microsoft Web site.
The following figure shows the architecture of Commerce Server 2007. The numbers in the figure correspond to brief explanations of the various components of the architecture that follows the figure.
Customers use their browser to access a Commerce Server Web application. Such Web applications typically involve purchasing or otherwise ordering products that are browsed online, added to a basket, and ultimately acquired by completing the check-out process.
Business users use the various smart client applications provided with Commerce Server to manage the data maintained within the various Commerce Server systems. For example, one or more business users might be tasked with maintaining the product catalog(s) for the Commerce Server Web application by using the Catalog Manager and the Catalog and Inventory Schema Manager. Meanwhile, one or more other business users might be tasked with using the Marketing Manager to schedule ad rotation within the Web application. Another major category of Web application tasks that is handled by business users involves the management of the orders that are placed and the customers who place them. These business users use the Customer and Orders Manager application to perform the various tasks in this category.
At the core of Commerce Server are the various Commerce Server systems, each of which has an extensive .NET API that you can use to access the functionality that they provide. Each of these systems has its own section within this documentation set that provides both conceptual information and step-by-step instructions for performing common programming tasks:
Each of these Commerce Server systems provides a corresponding Web service so that its functionality can be accessed over the network. Additionally, they each support what is known as an agent API. Agent APIs use the corresponding Web service to create an easier-to-use, remote API that, other than how it is initialized, provides the same set of methods and properties that are available using the local .NET APIs.
The Web applications that were discussed earlier in point 1 are generally built on top of the local .NET APIs provided by the various Commerce Server systems. The Web applications use the local .NET APIs to achieve the best possible performance, and are therefore confined to run on the same computer, or set of computers, upon which Commerce Server and its systems are installed.
Both ASP.NET 2.0 and Internet Information Services (IIS) provide the platform upon which Commerce Server and its systems are designed to operate.
You can use Microsoft BizTalk Server 2006 to integrate Commerce Server Together With a wide variety of line-of-business (LOB) applications. Examples of such LOB applications include enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) applications. Commerce Server includes BizTalk adapters for the Orders, Catalog, Inventory, and Profiles Systems that generate and consume a standard set of BizTalk messages that can be used to export and import their different types of business data. You can use BizTalk Server to act as an intermediary between Commerce Server and the relevant LOB applications, perhaps processing and definitely routing the messages being exchanged. For more information, see Developing with the BizTalk Adapters.
The IT professionals who are tasked with the day-to-day operations of a Commerce Server Web application can use Microsoft Operations Manager 2005 to monitor both events that are logged by various Commerce Server systems and to track performance using the counters maintained by those systems.
Commerce Server systems, such as the Profiles System and the Orders System, maintain performance counters and log events during operation. Microsoft Operations Manager 2005 is one of the recommended ways in which this kind of information can be monitored and acted upon to maintain Web application performance.
Another set of operational tasks are performed by IT professionals using the Commerce Server Manager, which is a Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-in. Commerce Server Manager is used to maintain a wide variety of Commerce Server configuration information.
Commerce Server Staging (CSS) is used by IT professionals to manage the deployment of various Commerce Server resources, and related resources, between different system environments. These resources include database information from SQL Server, metabase information from Internet Information Services (IIS), in addition to the various files that make up the Commerce Server Web applications. For more information about CSS, see Commerce Server Staging.
Another important feature of Commerce Server is known as the Data Warehouse and Analytics. This feature consists of a set of Data Transformation Services (DTS) tasks within Commerce Server combined with several powerful features that are part of Microsoft SQL Server. The SQL Server features include the set of database tables that are the Data Warehouse, OLAP cubes, and various reports built by using SQL Reporting Services. You can run the Commerce Server DTS tasks to export various types of operational data from Commerce Server into the Data Warehouse within SQL Server. When this data resides within the Data Warehouse, many types of sophisticated analysis can be performed and reported upon.
Commerce Server uses SQL Server in several different capacities. As previously mentioned, much of the functionality of the Data Warehouse and Analytics feature of Commerce Server is actually provided by SQL Server. The Commerce Server Administration database is also a SQL Server database, as are the various databases maintained to store the data associated with the different Commerce Server systems.