JBoss Sets Sights on Open-Source SOA Supremacy with ESB

At JBoss World Berlin, JBoss makes a splash with the announcement of its new Enterprise Service Bus and complementary technologies.

BERLIN—At JBoss World Berlin, the companys annual European conference, JBoss, a division of Red Hat, flexed its middleware muscle and made a series of announcements aimed at making Red Hat the place to go for the premier open-source SOA platform.

The company announced its new JBoss ESB (Enterprise Service Bus), which rounds out the JEMS (JBoss Enterprise Middleware Suite), Pierre Fricke, JBoss director of product management, said in an interview with eWEEK here.

In addition, JBoss announced new features expected to appear in the next version of its popular application server, JBoss Application Server 5.0, and Red Hat announced plans to combine a virtualized operating system with its set of building blocks for SOA (service-oriented architecture) as a strategy for creating greater value for the companys customers next year.

/zimages/2/28571.gifRed Hat and JBoss show the fruits of acquisition. Click here to read more.

Indeed, the new JBoss ESB represents the latest piece of Red Hats set of low-cost SOA building blocks for modern applications that the company says users will be able to run on a virtualized Linux platform.

Fricke said a differentiator for the Red Hat/JBoss offering is that it is a tested and certified open-source platform that is backed by Red Hat support.

"Red Hat has been in the Linux business for some time and has been the leader," Fricke said. "With its strategy around JBoss and virtualization you will see more hardware efficiencies and the SOA capabilities of JEMS come into light."

An ESB intermediates interactions between enterprise applications, business services, business components and middleware, to integrate and automate business processes, Fricke said. The JBoss ESB is built on existing technology—the companys JEMS base and the Rosetta ESB, which one of JBoss insurance industry customers contributed to the company.

JBoss officials said the ESB technology comes with a three-year track record in handling complex integration and real-time events in a mission-critical business environment with 3,000 employees across 40 locations serving 2 million customers.

"As an insurance industry solution, the Rosetta ESB was oriented toward COBOL applications, but weve taken that and generalized it for general-purpose scenarios, and were adding support for things like JBoss Messaging, JBossMQ and other services," Fricke said.

In addition, the new JBoss ESB leverages other JEMS technologies, such as the JBoss Rules business rules engine for content-based routing and JBossMQ for messaging. Over time, JBoss plans to extend JBoss ESB with additional JEMS products such as the JBoss jBPM business process management and workflow engine, the company said. And the company will work with partners to expand the JBoss ESB with complementary technologies.

Meanwhile, at the JBoss World conference, SeeWhy Software announced a partnership with Red Hat to provide tight support for JBoss ESB. Although the SeeWhy BI (business intelligence) platform already uses the JBoss Application Server and leverages other JEMS components, this new partnership between the two companies allows SeeWhy to build tighter integration of its real-time BI solution with additional JEMS components, including JBoss jBPM and the new JBoss ESB, said Charles Nicholls, chief executive of SeeWhy.

/zimages/2/28571.gifGuru Jakob Nielsen offers advice on designing applications for usability. Click here to watch the video.

"Were partnering with JBoss to build intelligent business processes into the new framework," Nicholls said in an interview. "Now that we have a Tier 1 open-source ESB available, its very important for us to partner. Were also very interested in the ability to integrate into jBPM; its a hot product."

Ronald Schmelzer, senior analyst at ZapThink, said, "Business Intelligence has an important role in process execution, and furthermore, as companies adopt SOA, we expect them to include BI in processes in much more flexible, business-focused ways." And because SeeWhy offers both an enterprise edition and a community edition, he said, "It fits in with the model JBoss has."

The initial release of the JBoss ESB will be known as JBoss ESB Version 4.0 and Red Hat will release a community edition of the product in December, with Red Hat subscription support planned for 2007, Fricke said.

By then, "well flesh it out with a Web services stack," Fricke said.

Currently, company officials said JBoss ESB 4.0 features a pluggable architecture that enables all JBoss ESB subsystems such as messaging and transformation to be swapped with other alternatives; support for a variety of messaging services, including secure FTP, HTTP, e-mail, JMS (Java Message Service), JBossMQ, JBoss Messaging, IBM MQSeries and ActiveMQ; a transformation engine that bridges data formats for seamless communication, supporting XSLT (Extensible Stylesheet Language Transformations) and Smooks, a flexible alternative; a service registry for service discovery and integration, using JAX-R (Java API for XML Registries) and UDDI (Universal Description, Discovery and Integration); a persisted event repository to support governance of the ESB environment; a notification service to allow the ESB to register events and signal subscribers; content-based routing based on XPath and JBoss Rules; and gateways that allow non-ESB aware clients to interact with services deployed within the JBoss ESB environment.

Meanwhile, JBoss previewed features of JBoss Application Server 5.0, its forthcoming Java EE 5 (Java Platform, Enterprise Edition 5.0)-compliant application server. Fricke said Red Hat will release a beta version of JBoss Application Server 5.0 in December, with a final release of the technology in the first half of 2007.

"With JBoss Application Server 5.0, JBoss will continue to drive innovation and deliver enterprise software to the mass market," said Ram Venkataraman, director of product management, JBoss, in a statement.

Core technologies that make up the JBoss Application Servers services include JBoss Web Services, a JAX-RPC (Java API for XML-based Remote Procedure Calls) 1.1-compliant SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) stack custom-built for the JBoss Application Server architecture, Fricke said. In addition, JBoss Web Services supports all J2EE (Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition)-compliant Web services, including the WS-I Basic Profile 1.1, WS-Security 1.0 and others.

JBoss Application Server 5.0 also features a re-architected JBoss Clustering service, which was enhanced to better conserve memory and resources while improving overall performance, the company said. JBoss Messaging is another part of the new application server, as is JBoss Seam, the companys unified component programming model and framework.

New features in JBoss Seam 1.1 include data-oriented application wrappers for entity beans, and improved support for AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) and REST (Representational State Transfer) technologies. Moreover, the new application server features enhanced Enterprise JavaBeans support, with JBoss EJB3, and the integration of Hibernate 3.2 into the product for Java persistence.

Meanwhile, despite major news from Red Hat/JBoss competitors in the open-source space—namely, the interoperability agreement between Microsoft and Novell, and the news of Oracles plans to go its own way with Linux—Shaun Connolly, vice president of product management at JBoss, said the company is unfazed.

"Weve had IBM trying to blow us out of the water, so this kind of thing is nothing new to us," Connolly said. Moreover, he said, "Those guys are shooting at where Red Hat/JBoss was; this conference is showing people where we are today and where were going."

/zimages/2/28571.gifCheck out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis in programming environments and developer tools.