By Jim Rapoza  |  Posted 2006-08-07 Print this article Print

When we reviewed Iona Artix 3.0 a year ago, we said that it was such a massive upgrade over previous versions that users who chose to upgrade might feel like they were using a completely different product. Artix 4.0, released in April, isnt quite that big of an upgrade, although it does offer some fairly significant improvements over Version 3.0.

One of the biggest new features is Orchestration Designer, an Eclipse-based development environment for creating and deploying BPEL-based processes. However, somewhat strangely, this seemingly core functionality is not bundled with the standard Artix Designer and must be purchased and installed separately for $10,000.

Click here to read a review of Sonic ESB 7.0.

Still, once installed, Orchestration Designer worked well for creating and testing BPEL implementations. We didnt find it to be groundbreaking in any way, but this may be a strength, as it works and looks like pretty much every orchestration tool in every BPM product on the market (and, consequently, has a fairly low learning curve).

The main Artix Designer interface isnt much different from the development environment in Version 3.0 of Artix. That isnt a bad thing, as Version 3.0s interface was quite good. An integrated testing option has been added to make it simpler to test services through WSDL (Web Services Description Language).

With an Eclipse-everywhere philosophy, Artix now also bases its management console on Eclipse. Using this interface, we were able to access all of our containers and messaging options, but it was not the most user-friendly ESB management interface weve ever seen. Its possible that Eclipse is better suited for development than management.

Another big improvement in Artix 4.0—necessary to catch up with other ESBs—is the addition, by default, of the ActiveMQ open-source JMS. Click here to read a review of Cape Clear ESB 6.6.

This means that users will no longer have to set up an additional JMS (although that is still an option), but can use ActiveMQ natively in Artix. Artix 4.0 also now does a better job of handling services using WS-Reliable Messaging.

Artix has broad database and operating system platform support, running on Linux, Unix and Windows servers. Theres also a version of Artix that runs on the z/OS. Iona Artix 4.0 starts at $10,000 per CPU; additional plug-ins cost $2,500 per CPU.

Next page: Evaluation Shortlist: Related Products.

Jim Rapoza, Chief Technology Analyst, eWEEK.For nearly fifteen years, Jim Rapoza has evaluated products and technologies in almost every technology category for eWEEK. Mr RapozaÔÇÖs current technology focus is on all categories of emerging information technology though he continues to focus on core technology areas that include: content management systems, portal applications, Web publishing tools and security. Mr. Rapoza has coordinated several evaluations at enterprise organizations, including USA Today and The Prudential, to measure the capability of products and services under real-world conditions and against real-world criteria. Jim Rapoza's award-winning weekly column, Tech Directions, delves into all areas of technologies and the challenges of managing and deploying technology today.

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