Enterprise Service Bus

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2004-05-11 Print this article Print

Well, there has been word from IBM, but its more of a services play and somewhat futuristic. But what are you doing in the area of an enterprise service bus (ESB)? Are you looking at that? Yes, we have a project going inside the company that were not quite ready to discuss yet, specifically to address … And we do have a bus today, but there are several challenges. One is, in a one-to-many broadcasting model, most of the transactional buses are not designed for that.
Most of the transactional buses today are designed for very long-length transactions. And you have basically two-way communications between the sender and the subscriber.
The new model is more one where you have a significantly lopsided amount of broadcast messages that are small, short-spanned and one-to-many. And you have subscribers that will wind up being the only or among very few that actually take in the message itself. Right now, we have more of a many-to-many model. So, we are in the process of building a bus specifically to handle these short-span messages. What has happened is the world in information systems is colliding with multimedia. All of a sudden, you have clips, you have pictures, you have things that people want to send, and they are waiting for reactions to them. Read more here about BEAs plans in the emerging ESB space. So, I think that has caused a different level of what people are expecting a transaction to be. What gets lumped into it? And thats caused us to rethink. Whats inside the bus that we have to do? Any time frame on this enterprise service bus? This year? Well, it looks like its going to be an early next year kind of time frame that well have something out. I have to say that every time I talk to you guys, I get something new that I do not expect. We have an endless appetite for doing new things. The other thing is WebLogic 8.1 just came out all done and is stabilized in the marketplace. So, 9.0—or whatever we will call it—is where our current mission is. 9.0 is a supplementary release, so its a nine-month release. So, everyone is now working on the plan for what will be in 10.0, which will be more than a year out. And youve talked to Adam [Bosworth, BEAs chief architect and senior vice president] about mobility, we have a huge management project going on, the bus architecture edition will be a new thing for us, therell be a bunch of new things inside integration, as we are transforming integration even further and adhering more to our message of converging development and integration itself. Theres a lot of stuff cooking. Thats a good point about the convergence of integration and development. However, one of the knocks against BEA is your integration story has been weak. Well, we are now the No. 3 player. We knocked down webMethods [Inc.], with their $100 million license revenue. The next one will be TIBCO [Software Inc.] and then IBM, which they have a bunch of … I dont know what the hell they have, right—mostly mumbo jumbo. But its all called WebSphere. Well, its all called WebSphere or one of those things. I dont know what the hell they call it. Can you talk about the mobility strategy? One of the things we really want to do is make sure that from the development and deployment perspective, applications are ready for mobility right away. Our vision is the following: Right now, you look at most of the decision-making applications and they are still very much fixed to the desktop, despite that there are portals and other things out there. Its a nonmobile kind of application. Most of the decision-making in companies is very short-spanned. Do you approve this job offer? Yes, click. Its a very inefficient process. You see this via e-mail, which is how most of the things are initiated. When you get e-mail, you click on the URL, you go inside the portal, you still have to fill in a bunch of stuff and approve … totally useless. Now, how do you turn a single application that can go from this cumbersome process into a very simple set of questions with some short-span questions on it unless you have a little device that can say, Ah, I understand. OK, this makes sense, Im going to approve. And I think that is the design goal. How do you make that available? You sit down and start building the application. These apps are deployable and manageable right off the bat on mobility devices—so it really is an enabler. Next Page: Chuang says none of BEAs customers is looking for Eclipse.

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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