Will XML Appliances Usurp ESB? Opinions Vary

Loraine Lawson

Recently, I shared how a next-generation ERP company had integrated an ESB into its new product, which was subscription-based and delivered over the Internet. The model showed great promise for delivering on-demand, virtual integration.

Well, there's a new ESB on the block. The blog buzz this week is over an XML appliance announced by IBM at its Impact 2007 Websphere conference. (Scroll down to the section on "New Software and Services" or search for "appliance" to find the information specific to the XI50 appliance.)

According to a recent post by blogger Alexander Ananiev, XML appliances are evolving into "full-blown ESB products that compete with software ESB offerings." Ananiev contends companies will quickly embrace these appliances, because they simplify integration by literally moving it to a box - a more secure, low-maintenance box. No complicated installation, no messing configurations - just a box.

By adding XML to DataPower X150, Ananiev believes IBM has taken a huge step toward delivering a boxed ESB product. Of course, that's always the promise of appliances, but delivering on that promise is another matter all together.

Blogger and SOA architect Gary Smith offers a slightly different take. He agrees that the XML appliance trend is significant, but contends these appliances will actually be an extension of the ESB. That's really all he says about it, but I mention it because you need to know that to follow this post from Lori MacVittie, over at F5 DevCentral.

MacVittie agrees with Smith's assertion that the XML appliances will become an extension of the ESB, but she adds substantially to his premise in her post, "XML Appliance != ESB." She explains that there are still four capabilities separating XML/SOA appliances from ESBs:

  • Orchestration capabilities,
  • Transactional integrity,
  • Distributed processing and failover, and
  • Parallel processing in the pipeline.

Frankly, I have no opinion on how this will shake out. I'm just along for the ride. But I'll be sure to keep you updated on what I see out the window.



Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
May 24, 2007 9:26 AM sl8anic sl8anic  says:
It's XI50, not X150 (as in XA35, XS40) Reply
May 25, 2007 1:12 AM Loraine Lawson Loraine Lawson  says:
Oops. Thanks. Typo: It was right the first time in the second graph. Reply
May 25, 2007 7:26 AM Ed Dodds Ed Dodds  says:
Multi-vendor orchestration with long-lived transactions, called choreography, is the most optimal ( currently attainable ) goal of this space. ebXML Business Process TC has done excellent work in this area: http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/tc_home.php?wg_abbrev=ebxml-bp , ebxml.xml.org , ebxmlforum.net Reply

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