Discussions

J2EE patterns: Ripping off services layers, bad idea - about the ESB


  1. Taken from: Thoughts on SOA and EDA "Hey Jack, could you please rip off the services layers from all of our systems?" This question comes to me occasionally. Not exactly in these words. It is more like "Why do we need XI, Sonic, Cordys and Biztalk while we already got our WebSphere ESB... Why having more than one ESB?" It's right, we - at Dutch Railways - got a WebSphere ESB. But it's wrong to think we got more than one ESB when we also have SAP-XI (PI), Sonic ESB and Biztalk Server. Vendors all call their product an ESB, because they want us to use their product as an ESB. But in fact these products aren't ESB's - including WebSphere ESB - unless we give the product this enterprise role, what we did with IBM's managed services layer. What vendors sell are managed services layers. We could e.g. access native SAP services from the core of the system. But fortunately SAP decided to put a managed services layer - PI - in front of its core system functions. This managed services layer provides a registry of services and it offers ways of governing the services. It also hides lower level system services and guarantees the integrity of higher level - composite - services. Our .Net based application systems use Biztalk Server for the same reason we use PI for our SAP systems. And we got the APAMA event processor, which we think of to use Sonic to manage the system level services layered around the event processor. And last but not least there is the CORDYS BPM suite, that leverages the CORDYS services layer which is called the CORDYS ESB, just like Progress calls Sonic an ESB and Microsoft - sometimes - calls Biztalk Server an ESB. And that is confusing and obscures straight forward thinking. An ESB is not for sale. Sorry Sonic, despite you invented the acronym (or was it Gartner), it is not the vendor who decides which services layer product gets the role of Enterprise level - cross domain - services layer, the ESB. It's the enterprise itself who decides. Back to the beginning of this post: "Bad idea, dear people. I am not going to rip off the managed services layers from our systems. The system level services layers are the ramps to our enterprise level services layer. It releaves us of the burden to dive into the muddy pools of obscure native web services in the core of our systems while a robust and structured access layer is available. Think in more then one level." "Huh..? And what about all those separate services management environments?" "Don't worry. Registry federation tools and standards exist. And SOA (function) and web services (technology) federation tools are emerging. You may want to Google around a bit..." -Jack the Architect
  2. Please have a look at Amberpoint. A cross platform SOA runtime management tool to keep in control of these heterogeneous service layer environments....