A Data Flow connects two Endpoints--a source Endpoint and a destination Endpoint--and allows data to flow in one direction, from the source Endpoint to the destination Endpoint. Data Flows are used to connect external trading partner Endpoints to CIC, as well as to connect CIC to back-end Endpoints. So, connecting from a partner to CIC for processing (for example, data inspection, routing, and/or transformation) and then on to your back-end system requires two Data Flows. If neither inspection, routing, nor transformation is needed, it is also possible to build a Data Flow directly from a partner Endpoint to a back-end Endpoint and vice versa.
For some Data Flows, depending on the type of endpoint you select, you can specify additional information about paths or commands. For example, for File System Endpoint, you can click the pencil icon to enter path information directly.
There are two distinct use cases for data flows in CIC: opaque flows and transparent flows.
In an opaque flow, data is sent from the source endpoint to the destination endpoint with no intervening processing. For example, data sent directly from your partner to your back-end system.
Opaque flows are recommended when testing communications between you and your trading partners or when you require that data is sent between endpoints without data inspection, routing, or data transformation.
In a transparent flow, there are two segments--one to send data from the source Endpoint (for example, your partner) to a Transformation Endpoint (representing the Integration Engine) and another to send data from a Transformation Endpoint (representing the Integration Engine) to the destination Endpoint (for example, your back-end system). Between the two transfer segments, the Integration Engine inspects the payload and performs processing.
CIC's two-segment approach allows you to reuse your back-end infrastructure. If your back end is typically agnostic to the payload, when sending and receiving to CIC, you can have a single Data Flow for all your back-end integrations and then simply point your trading partners to the Transformation Endpoint.