ESB Tutorial

Our ESB tutorial provides the expert advice, definitions, implementation examples, trends and news you need to get started with or optimize the performance of an enterprise service bus.

Our ESB tutorial provides the tips, expert advice, definitions, implementation examples, trends and news you need to get started with or optimize the performance of an enterprise service bus.

Table of Contents
Introduction
What is an ESB?
ESB tips and expert advice
ESB news and trends
How to use an ESB
ESB products
 

Introduction
 

The enterprise service bus (ESB) is a software infrastructure that facilitates application integration. An ESB is valuable to the implementation of a service-oriented architecture (SOA) because it exchanges messages, executes transactions, orchestrates services, and performs publish and subscribe functions between disparate and distributed applications.

The ESB was created to meet demands and avoid common problems that other enterprise application integration (EAI) platforms could not. The popular hub and spoke EAI platform, in which all integrated applications work through a single message broker, creates a single point of failure, an incredible risk for a complex business system. The ESB, though, has numerous brokers, and so avoids this risk.

The ESB is also more suited for SOA. Unlike the hub and spoke platform, an ESB facilitates the loose-coupling of systems and the use of open-standards, two features of most successful SOA implementations. Despite these advantages, there were initial doubts about whether the ESB would be only a brief fad. Nicholas Farges' addressed this question when the ESB first appeared widely in 2003, and his assessment remains an excellent introduction to the ESB platform.

One of those doubts arose from the necessary intricacy of an ESB. Some viewers worried that implementing an ESB would only exacerbate the complexities of service orientation. As an SOA initiative matures, though, the myriad benefits of the ESB become evident: Security, agility, availability, and other key characteristics of EAI all improve once an ESB is in place. Contrary to common fears, the ESB can simplify SOA.

While an ESB can help, it's still important to choose the right one. A lightweight ESB can be implemented quickly and inexpensively, so it's often favored by developers working under tight deadlines and tight budgets. Their architect counterparts, though, may have a long-term vision and desire a more comprehensively functional ESB to support a broad SOA strategy. According to a recent Forrester Research report, the right lightweight ESB can satisfy developers and architects alike.

While many organizations are choosing which kind of ESB to implement, many vendors are choosing which kind of ESB to produce. The open-source ESB has grown popular with vendors as they face price pressure from the market and seek to cut development and support costs. Several significant mergers and acquisitions have accelerated the trend.
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What is an ESB?

ESB definition
An enterprise service bus (ESB) is a software architecture for middleware that provides fundamental services for more complex architectures.

EAI
Enterprise application integration (EAI) is a business computing term for the plans, methods, and tools aimed at modernizing, consolidating, and coordinating the computer applications in an enterprise.

Enterprise Service Bus (ESB): Lasting concept or latest buzzword?
Nicholas Farges took a close look at the ESB shortly after it was conceptualized. His thorough introduction and analysis remain valuable six years later to anyone who considers using an ESB.

Open source and ESBs
The Enterprise Service Bus [ESB] has been intrinsic to many SOA programs in recent years. You can say you are doing SOA and not have done an ESB. But there is a high likelihood a successful SOA program includes successful ESBs.

Some notes on ESB configuration
For many people, "SOA" is "ESB." But, the definition of ESB is a moving target—it started rather as a "three-ring binder" of accepted corporate integration practices, and now has taken the form of a service architecture that holds various middleware types. The term "bus" is used to allude to the hardware bus that connects chips on printed-circuit computer boards in the realm of hardware. Messaging continues to be the primary service that ESBs provide, and many of them use Java as the language of choice.
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ESB tips and expert advice

The ESB and its role in application integration architecture
Although enterprise service busses (ESBs) are not new, they can continue to be a nexus for confusion. After many years and many implementations, what they do, how they do it and whether specific products can help create a SOA are all still matters of contention. Understanding the ESB remains an industry-wide quest.

Jeff Genender on SOA infrastructure
Jeff Genender is an active committer and Project Management Committee (PMC) member for Apache Geronimo, a 'committer' on OpenTerracotta, OpenEJB, ServiceMix and Mojo (Maven plugins), and the author of several books. In this interview, Genender shares his take on SOA infrastructure. He includes message buses, containers, orchestrators and more in his definition, but pays particular attention to ESBs.

Open source licenses explained: caveats and comparisons
There are many pitfalls awaiting enterprise software development shops that use open source code without first setting down a clear strategy, according to Protecode CEO Mahshad Koohgoli. n this Q&A, Koohgoli discusses dual licensing and how companies use some of the more common open source licenses available.

Three tips for choosing an ESB
Jess Thompson, Research Vice President at Gartner, provides his top three tips on getting on the bus.

An open source ESB can cost you
Open source software can theoretically be acquired for free, and CIOs are attracted to products where they don't have to show a capital expense. However, an open source ESB can still have a cost. Read this to find out the risks of an open source ESB.

Use an ESB to simplify the complexity of SOA
Why add yet another moving part into the service-oriented landscape? Isn't management of service-oriented applications already too complicated? The reasons for introducing an enterprise service bus are the same as those applied when choosing to implement an enterprise application integration strategy some years ago. Learn how an ESB can simplify SOA.

Is a lightweight ESB right for your SOA?
It's a classic conflict: Developers focused on a project and facing deadline pressure want to use a lightweight enterprise service bus (ESB), while enterprise architects have to look at the long-term impact on the service-oriented architecture (SOA) environment. Learn when one is better than the other.

Data Services for ESB's
Some ESBs are adding MDM/data services capabilities (e.g. Sun, WSO2). We ask an expert: Do you think that's something an ESB should be doing or is this functionality that's best handled outside a service bus?
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ESB news and trends

Cloud Silos and the role of ESBs in the cloud
MuleSoft is prepping its iON cloud platform for a public performance. It features an ESB engine that is said to support orchestration and more flexible data handling than point-to-point cloud computing integrations.

In 2010, cloud computing met ESBs, data caches, services and more
Cloud took on the look of middleware architecture in 2010. Cloud poster child Salesforce.com expanded beyond its original Apex language support, buying Ruby-based cloud house Heroku and forging a development deal with VMWare's Spring application framework group.

Forrester analysts: SOA still strong
Businesses that already use SOA are expanding their SOA initiatives and new businesses are starting to adopt SOA and to implement SOA technologies. The first-time SOA infrastructure purchase may be shifting from ESBs to other technologies.

ESBs in the cloud: Tricky in the early going
Stratos SOA platform maker WSO2 has announced a retooled version of its enterprise service bus (ESB) along with other middleware for cloud computing environments, it begged the question: What do IT shops need to know about ESB implementation in the cloud?

ESB watered down by EAI, but distinction remains
The definition of ESB has lost some of its distinction as a distributed architecture, says Progress software's Hub Vandervoort. Read what differentiates a barebones ESB from one that evolved from earlier EAI concepts.

Is open-source remaking the ESB market?
The enterprise service bus (ESB) market is evolving as open source players enter it, but as in biological evolution, it appears to be a matter of adapting to survive.

SOA complicated by ESB proliferation
Enterprise service bus (ESB) intermediation remains an issue despite the adoption of WS-* standards, argues John Michelsen, chief architect at iTKO Inc., the testing vendor specializing in service-oriented architecture (SOA).
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How to use an ESB

Message brokering as part of an approach to flattening the problem of diverse mobile device support
Mobile devices keep growing more numerous. As they grow in numbers, they also grow in variety. It can be difficult to develop applications that work with all these devices. Employing an ESB as a message broker between the devices and the applications can simplify compatibility issues.

FAA uses open source ESB to handle flight data
Last year the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) selected an open source enterprise service bus (ESB) to provide integration support for a system that uses Web-based services to handle flight and weather data for airlines. Earlier this year, a SWIM Prototype became operational at the FAA's William J. Hughes Technical Center in Atlantic City, NJ.

U.S. Coast Guard adopts SOA and ESB to better track ships at sea
As it moved in recent years to SOA and a full enterprise architecture, the U.S. Coast Guard sought to upgrade legacy systems' operation. The thinking was that, for a SOA implementation to be successful, an organization does well to get used to sharing data across multiple channels. With the SOA conversation beginning in early 2007, the USCG actually began producing new systems this past January with its new enterprise service bus (ESB).

User combines open source ESB with data services to speed customer reports.
Generating customer reports is the bane of most development operations. These requests flood development groups. The issue has only grown worse as organizations compile more and more data, and users more imaginatively ask 'what if?,' further taxing programmers' time. Read this article to learn how one company has taken a data services approach to solving the problem, at the same time implementing a type of Web services mashup to address user needs.

SOA integrates university's ERP project
Service-oriented architecture (SOA) allows departmental developers working on a variety of applications at the various campuses and facilities of the University of Illinois to provide data access without worrying about the data sources. Read why all that data is now available from the ESB for Ajax and rich Internet applications (RIAs) developed for the University of Illinois campuses in Champagne-Urbana, Springfield and Chicago, as well as the online campus.
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ESB products

ESB IDE offers “round trip” editing
ESB developers could laboriously hand code or they could adopt tools from vendors that could speed up the process but at a cost – the tools could themselves be complicated and they tended to obscure access to underlying code. An IDE seeks to address this concern.

Oracle details SOA, Java roadmap with BEA
BEA customers will not be forced to migrate to Oracle Corp. middleware products, Charles E. Phillips Jr., Oracle's president, said when he outlined plans for the integration and support of the two companies product lines in July 2008. The integration includes in innovative convergence of Oracle's ESB and BEA's Aqualogic bus.

Eclipse group releases Swordfish, an open-source ESB
Recently at EclipseCon, the Eclipse Foundation formally released Swordfish, an enterprise service bus (ESB) based on OSGi. It joins a host of other open ESBs, including OpenFuse, Mule, and others.

Open source/commercial ESB hybrid reflects SOA reality
Iona Technologies Inc. today announced its own hybrid model for selling Artix, its closed source enterprise services bus (ESB), and FUSE, its open source ESB based on technology developed by the Apache Foundation.

FUSE ESB brings Apache ServiceMix 4.0 to market
In its first product release since formally becoming a division of Progress Software, Iona has announced FUSE ESB 4.0, a commercial version of the Apache ServiceMix 4.0, open source enterprise service bus (ESB). The software seeks to combine the openness of open source with the rigor of some commercialization. .
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Table of Contents
Introduction
What is an ESB?
ESB tips and expert advice
ESB news and trends
How to use an ESB
ESB products
Back to the top

This was first published in May 2011

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