You Don't Have to Have an ESB ... But You Might Want To

Loraine Lawson

The whole "to ESB or not to ESB, that is the SOA question" debate is back. OnStrategies blamed Todd Biske for resurrecting it earlier this month. Fellow IT Business Edge blogger Dennis Byron raised the question here.


The answer, in case you're not keep up, consistently amounts to, "No you don't need an ESB. But they can be useful for some functions, even though, FYI, you can perform those functions in other ways. So, no, you don't need an ESB. But you might find it useful."


Or, as Paul Fremantle, co-founder and VP of technical sales at WSO2, put it in "Reclaiming the ESB," sometimes ESBs work with SOA and sometimes they don't.


Bloggers are often cantankerous dissenters about, well, everything, but I can honestly say I've never read a post where someone argued that you absolutely must use an ESB or it's not a SOA. I'm not sure why this discussion resurfaces, except maybe the pros are worried that you'll confuse the two because so many vendors sell ESBs and so many people use them in SOA.


Still, Biske did make a compelling point in his recent post when he argued that ESBs should be taken out of the development camp and placed with other networking tools:

"...the capabilities associated with the space really belong in the hands of operations rather than the hands of developers. As a result, you'd have to compare the cost/value of an ESB or other intermediary to the cost of other network intermediaries, such as switches, load balancers, and proxying appliances. Unfortunately, the ESB space is dominated not by traditional networking companies, but middleware companies."

While you're chewing on the role of ESBs, you might want to sign up for this free ebizQ Webinar examining how PepsiAmericas uses an ESB and data integration solutions for real-time integration. The event is sponsored by BEA Systems -- and, yes, the company sells an ESB. Mike Spears, manager of Architecture and Middleware, PepsiAmericas, will speak, as will the director of product marketing for BEA Systems. You can learn more or sign up online.


In other integration news:


SOA Software Buys SOA Repository and Governance Vendor. LogicLibrary has a new boss -- SOA Software announced that it bought out the SOA repository and governance vendor this week. Leaders from both companies focused on how this will fill in the gaps for complete SOA governance, specifically mentioning that there's a "natural fit between the SOA Software Workbench for software policy governance and the LogicLibrary Logidex repository."


WOA, SOA and a Better Term. Remember the WOA (Web-oriented architecture) and SOA (service-oriented architecture) discussion? ZapThink offered a practical analysis and assessment about WOA and how it relates to SOA this week. Analyst Ronald Schmelzer suggests it would be more accurate to use the term "Web-oriented SOA" than to use WOA separately:

"ZapThink believes that the term Web-Oriented SOA represents greater clarity than WOA, since it disambiguates the desire to position WOA as an alternative to SOA as well as more accurately positions the concept at a lower level of abstraction than the SOA concept."

Works for me.


Salesforce Offers Free AppExchange for Integration Kit. If you have Salesforce, you probably got the e-mail announcement, just like I did -- though I'm not even a client. But, in case you missed it or are just interested in the concept, Salesforce is offering a free "kit" on using AppExchange for integration. It includes a Yankee Group white paper on B2B exchange using AppExchange, a Webinar and a newsletter. You can download it here in exchange for the usual registration information -- name, job title, phone, company, e-mail, address and company size.

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