FC ESB - what about ISB ?  

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ESB - what about ISB ?

Iona, the sponsors of the open source ESB (Enterprise Service Bus) project Celtix, have reached their first delivery milestone - a tested binary release with "end-to-end" functionality. They are one among at least a couple of open source projects which are playing in the ESB space. There is another called Mule, and Sun Microsystems is entering as well with the Open ESB project, built on top of Java Business Integration standards.

These developments are to be expected with the market for ESB technologies growing as rapidly as it seems to be. Major players like Sonic, IBM with Websphere, Oracle, and BEA have certainly been making a lot of noise about it all. I've been following the rise of this product category with interest over the last 2 years. The underlying idea of a service bus is a simple one and is a standard tool in systems architecture. It is the same concept as the Universial Serial Bus (USB) technology which allows you to plug any number of different peripherals into your laptop, PC, or server. USB takes care of the connectivity and communication between the different pieces of kit - and an ESB does the same thing for software applications and business data within the enterprise.

The e-marketplace business model, of which Asite is one of relatively few examples born out of the dot-com boom which continue to prosper - is the same model as well, only applied to the supply chain - or the industry at large. I like to think of this product category as an ISB - or Industry Service Bus. (I have the weakness of a techie for three-letter-acronyms). The point is providing a common bus for inter-enterprise electronic communication, providing guaranteed message transport and translation services with connectors for common formats and common enterprise applications (or common ESB applications once they become de riguer in my particular industry). Our marketing literature refers to these ideas as "delivering data logistics" - which uses another metaphor, this time pulled from a more traditional industry - the postal service. The underlying technology we have been running since 2000 to provide these services (Sonic Messaging, J2EE/XSLT integration platform, and Commerce One codebases for e-procurement and supply chain management) - have identical underlying components to the products which are the subject of this current ESB marketing frenzy - and identical functions. I believe the marketing spend of the giants on the ESB category cannot help but have a trickle-down benefit to smaller and more vertically-focused players like us - if only in terms of helping to better define the product set in the minds of industry.

For further info here is my standard link to Wikipedia for ESB.

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