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ESB Technology Goes Open Source

by Miko Matsumura on Oct 04, 2006 |

Backed by Hummer Winblad and Morgenthaler ventures to the tune of $4M dollars, CEO Dave Rosenberg and Mule ESB Open Source Leader Ross Mason are ready to take on the biggest ESB players with their Open Source ESB strategy. But not only are other ESB companies waiting, but the field is already crowded with other Open Source options.  Mule is an ESB platform with a completely Open source background, and the company MuleSource provides professional services and support for this product.

The idea of a venture capital backed company based on Open Source enterprise software, and even more specifically ESB is certainly not a novel one. LogicBlaze is a company that serves up the Apache ServiceMix ESB container, but packaged in a stack alongside other Apache components such as ActiveMQ, LifeRay Portal and the Apache jUDDI Registry. Another Apache centric company,  WSO2 provides an alternative Web Services oriented stack of Open Source functionality starting with their Tungsten "application server", but growing forward on their roadmap with the "Titanium" ESB, scheduled for release in Q3 2006. WSO2 is led by Sajiva Weewarana, another pioneer in open source Web Services.

At their hearts, ServiceMix and Titanium have different SOAP engines. ServiceMix is built on top of the XFire Soap engine, whereas Titantium is built on top of Apache Synapse, which is based on Apache AXIS2. Burton Analyst Anne Thomas Manes has commented on AXIS1 vs AXIS2 and there are some helpful comments below her blog posting about XFire. Mule takes a more neutral approach by enabling either AXIS or XFire SOAP engines.

By no means are Mule, LogicBlaze and WSO2 the only companies attacking the Open Source ESB opportunity. Larger, publicly traded companies are also getting into the mix. The IONA Celtix project is hosted at the ObjectWeb Consortium. Another player who has gotten in to the Open Source ESB game is Open Source giant, RedHat/JBoss. The JBoss ESB project was formerly known as "Rosetta" and was comprised of a set of technologies built on top of the JBoss Enterprise Middleware Suite (JEMS) by the second largest insurance provider in Canada. JBoss acquired the technology from this customer in order to launch the JBoss ESB product, led by Mark Little. Sun Microsystems announced the Composite Application Platform based on the SeeBeyond ESB technologies.

What does this wave of Open Source ESB activity signify? Is it the maturation of the product category ESB? Too much venture capital floating around? What is the feature road map for commercial non-open source ESBs?

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XFire & ServiceMix by Dan Diephouse

Just to clarify, while ServiceMix uses XFire for JSR 181/JAX-WS stuff, it is in no way built on top of XFire. I believe it also has integration with Axis via a SAAJ component too.
--
Dan Diephouse
envoisolutions.com

Open Source ESB is the only way to go by Shay Banon

As someone who used several ESB solutions, both custom built and pre built, I can say that when using an ESB, many times you build your own Components/Transports. An ESB solution can provide you with a breadth of components (like xslt transformer) and transports (jms, http, ws, ...), but often you find that a custom one needs to be built. Developing custom component/transports using an open source ESB will always be simpler and more productive then using a closed source ESB.

Cheers,
Shay Banon

What does it mean? by Rod Johnson

What does this wave of Open Source ESB activity signify? Is it the maturation of the product category ESB?

It's another example of open source increasingly innovating and leading in a new product category, rather than merely commoditizing well understood areas.

Re: What does it mean? by anjan bacchu

What does this wave of Open Source ESB activity signify? Is it the maturation of the product category ESB?

It's another example of open source increasingly innovating and leading in a new product category, rather than merely commoditizing well understood areas.


Hi Rod,

In what way has open source ESB innovated as compared to the offerings from IONA/SONIC/BEA ?

Open ESB from sun is an example of commercial Software converted 2 openSource software. Celtix is another example. Is there an example of true(from the beginning) open source ESB implementations having significant innovations ?

Pls. note that I'm not saying that oss cannot be innovative(Apache and GNU/Linux come to mind) -- I just wanted to know which features of which ESB oss implementations are significantly innovative/leading ?

Thank you,

BR,
~A

Re: What does it mean? by Eric Newcomer

Actually Celtix was developed from the ground up at ObjectWeb. It is entirely new code, not taken from IONA's commercial product. Now that it's moved into Apache and combined with Xfire I hope we will see additional innovation.

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