DrKW Open-Sources Better Communication

Investment bank creates its own solution, then gives it away to get systems talking.

Can you hear me now? Can we talk? Talk amongst yourselves.

Few tag lines, or gag lines, seem to resonate more than those tied to communication—and for good reason. Communication is the most critical part of any relationship, project or corporation.

So when a large European investment bank found that communication between its units and systems and between itself and its partners had become unwieldy, the bank made improving communication a top priority—so much so that the bank created its own solution and open-sourced it.

Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein, the investment bank of Dresdner Bank AG, has developed openadaptor.org, an open-source framework for accelerating the integration of disparate systems.

DrKW, based in London and Frankfurt, Germany, signed a new three-year agreement with CollabNet Inc., of Brisbane, Calif., that broadens support for DrKWs openadaptor.org open-source community site. CollabNet provides the hosting infrastructure and development platform for openadaptor.org. With openadaptor.org, enterprises can connect their systems over the Internet without writing new code, company officials said.

Initially DrKW built openadaptor.org to facilitate systems integration within the bank and between the bank and partners and customers. The platform is an EAI (enterprise application integration) framework with components for integrating JMS; (Java Message Service); LDAP; e-mail; IBMs MQSeries; Oracle Corp., Sybase Inc. and MySQL AB databases; and XML data exchange, the company said. Essentially openadaptor.org is an open-source solution built with open-source components and used in a corporate environment.

"We use open-source technologies where they are mature enough to be used," said Steve Howe, openadaptor.org product manager for DrKW, in London. "So Apache Web servers, JBoss application servers are used. Linux is also used extensively. Firefox is a popular browser within DrKW. There are also the myriad low-level enabling technologies like CVS [Concurrent Versions System] source code control, JUnit testing, Ant project building and many, many more."

The impetus for openadaptor.org was that intersystems communication had become a major issue at DrKW, Howe said. So the investment bank began creating its own solution by fostering a distributed, collaborative software development environment. Once openadaptor.org was created, DrKW open-sourced the application and gave it away for free so that others could use it, he said.

"Initially the source code for openadaptor was open-sourced within the DrKW corporate firewall so that other DrKW developers could look at it, add to it, change and improve it if they wanted," Howe said. "And they did. A lot of the Java code within openadaptor was not written by the core openadaptor team but by our users. So this meant the idea of open-sourcing it was already validated to an extent. As an innovative IT department, taking the decision to genuinely open-source it in the real world was the next logical step."

Next Page: CollabNet to the Rescue