Welcome!

Weblogic Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Michael Meiner, Michael Bushong, Avi Rosenthal

Related Topics: Weblogic, Microservices Expo

Weblogic: Article

The ESB - SOA Hullaballoo

ESBs Cohabitating in SOA: Controversial?

Jason English's Blog

With multiple ESB platforms, you are still providing a very good way to bring underlying business applications and transaction systems to bear with an integration and messaging framework, sometimes with business process management as well. Yes they are different systems, but they can be pulled together effectively as long as the validation is there, and as long as the multiple teams have a means to virtualize their dependencies and continue developing and testing new functionality.

I had a talk with Rich Seeley from SearchSOA a couple weeks ago, and his article: "SOA Complicated by ESB Proliferation" reflected how our discussion turned to what we're finding is an inevitable reality of SOA in large enterprises: the need for a team to manage and validate the Intermediation of different ESB and integration platforms.

Then this from our peer David Linthicum: "Are ESBs Hurting SOA?". Well usually we have seen eye-to-eye on many issues, especially since we are in the "platform neutral" space of needing to govern & validate the leading platforms on the market. In fact, we just sponsored a paper Dave authored "Testing & Validating Heterogeneous SOA" coming out soon that talks about how to design and validate these kinds of heterogeneous platforms. Dave is likewise not beholden to one ideal platform or solution.

Was I wrong this time on so many levels?
And who knew there was a controversy around ESBs in SOA?

That article spurred several comments for sure - and I had to put my own in there. We have also heard from a few more experts weighing in on the topic - Jeff Schneider didn't really see why it was a big deal in "Linthicum on ESBs," after all that kind of reality is likely what he is solving every day in his practice, while Loraine Lawson had a very good post "Multiple ESBs Causing Problem, but Nobody's Listening," supporting Dave's point that we need to do much better architecturally, and not just accept it as a reality.

Now to caveat, I was actually talking about it as a challenge -- I was never recommending multiple ESBs as an ideal approach - but it is certainly not out of reach to manage well with good intermediation practices. Companies putting all of their eggs in the basket of mediating strictly at the web services layer also run into a proliferation of different standards and metadata, or the "JBOWS" conundrum -- I addressed this recently in a brief -- and it is hard to dictate that compliance unless you have a very tight grip on standards, and for most large companies, the standards around services aren't consistent. So if you try to enforce too strict a compliance, you end up with poor reuse.

With multiple ESB platforms, you are still providing a very good way to bring underlying business applications and transaction systems to bear with an integration and messaging framework, sometimes with business process management as well. Yes they are different systems, but they can be pulled together effectively as long as the validation is there, and as long as the multiple teams have a means to virtualize their dependencies and continue developing and testing new functionality.

Obviously you would like to start with a clean slate and architect the system from the ground up with well-defined semantics, proper levels of service granularity, get partners delivering on the same standards, and realize the reuse and agility benefits you expect from having a very modular system. But, given the reality of acquisitions, partnerships, and the need to support ongoing businesses and their heterogeneous technology at consistent service levels, most larger companies need to find a way to get these systems to play together nicely.

We have to reconcile ourselves to this fact: the likelihood that there will only be one platform participating in business process execution will decrease, when there is a broader distribution of the business process. Departments may mandate homogeneity, but inter-enterprise transactions couldn't possibly do so. SOA is about abstractions that make disparate things work together.  Let's leverage this pattern to bring these systems together.

Now Dave just came back with a rebuttal in Real World SOA: "Madness I say!" - and yes, I do understand where he's coming from. An ESB does not a SOA make, and, yes, more centralized control would improve the situation. Still, I'm right on so many levels as well though... : ) We often take the tack of "SOA Federation," which is akin to the idea of Federal vs. State authority: a central (Federal) authority that dictates some ground rules and standards for interacting, but leaves much of the specific technology decisions such as which ESB to use, to the parties (or States) that provide and consume the shared services.

When you take SOA as a multi-enterprise workflow of a consortium of partners working together, centralized control is practically unattainable. You can't just dictate that partners follow your policies and your architectural decisions.

I’m a big fan of both leverage-and-extend, and iteration as a means to an end. I'd submit that the greatest IT value of a service-based architecture is that it enables these things. With them, I can be more responsive to business needs faster. I'm also too much of a realist to take a 'puritanical' view of how to build out an SOA.  We have to try and refine over time.  So I'd rather "grade" SOA on its level of maturity, not call it something else.  For example, ungoverned web services used within a tightly coupled team is an immature SOA; broadly distributed services leveraged by a variety of consumers with increasing development responsiveness is a mature SOA... 

If I am a business, I want the benefit of being uninterested in the implementation technologies deployed under the service interfaces I consume, so long as the governance and testability are there. Why preclude any technology from making its contribution to SOA, especially one that is doing fairly well at the job like ESBs?

I love a good back-and-forth on these kind of issues. I've talked to a few other bloggers/columnists since then, and I'm sure we haven't seen the last of this debate. To me it says that the practices and methods for SOA are still evolving, and there are a lot of good people passionate about working on these issues. We may never arrive at an "optimal" SOA but I do believe that IT will get better at addressing business needs if we keep signing up for solving the hardest problems while ensuring continuity today.

More Stories By Jason English

Jason joined iTKO in 2004, bringing more than 15 years of experience in executing marketing plans, re-engineering business processes and meeting customer requirements for companies such as IBM, EDS, Delphi, TaylorMade, Sun, Motorola and Sprint. As Director of eMarketing and Executive Producer, in2action Consulting at i2 Technologies, he was responsible for i2's outbound messaging during a period of extreme growth, as well as marketing services and working directly with clients to build easy-to-learn front ends to B2B systems. Prior to that, he managed customer experience as an Information Architect at Agency.com. Jason scored and designed several internationally released computer games in addition to conventional print advertising and television commercials.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Daiya Industry will exhibit at the Japanese Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Ruby Development Inc. builds new services in short period of time and provides a continuous support of those services based on Ruby on Rails. For more information, please visit https://github.com/RubyDevInc.
As businesses evolve, they need technology that is simple to help them succeed today and flexible enough to help them build for tomorrow. Chrome is fit for the workplace of the future — providing a secure, consistent user experience across a range of devices that can be used anywhere. In her session at 21st Cloud Expo, Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, will take a look at various options as to how ChromeOS can be leveraged to interact with people on the devices, and formats th...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Yuasa System will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Yuasa System is introducing a multi-purpose endurance testing system for flexible displays, OLED devices, flexible substrates, flat cables, and films in smartphones, wearables, automobiles, and healthcare.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Taica will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Taica manufacturers Alpha-GEL brand silicone components and materials, which maintain outstanding performance over a wide temperature range -40C to +200C. For more information, visit http://www.taica.co.jp/english/.
As hybrid cloud becomes the de-facto standard mode of operation for most enterprises, new challenges arise on how to efficiently and economically share data across environments. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Dr. Allon Cohen, VP of Product at Elastifile, will explore new techniques and best practices that help enterprise IT benefit from the advantages of hybrid cloud environments by enabling data availability for both legacy enterprise and cloud-native mission critical applications. By rev...
Organizations do not need a Big Data strategy; they need a business strategy that incorporates Big Data. Most organizations lack a road map for using Big Data to optimize key business processes, deliver a differentiated customer experience, or uncover new business opportunities. They do not understand what’s possible with respect to integrating Big Data into the business model.
Recently, REAN Cloud built a digital concierge for a North Carolina hospital that had observed that most patient call button questions were repetitive. In addition, the paper-based process used to measure patient health metrics was laborious, not in real-time and sometimes error-prone. In their session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sean Finnerty, Executive Director, Practice Lead, Health Care & Life Science at REAN Cloud, and Dr. S.P.T. Krishnan, Principal Architect at REAN Cloud, will discuss how they b...
Enterprises have taken advantage of IoT to achieve important revenue and cost advantages. What is less apparent is how incumbent enterprises operating at scale have, following success with IoT, built analytic, operations management and software development capabilities – ranging from autonomous vehicles to manageable robotics installations. They have embraced these capabilities as if they were Silicon Valley startups. As a result, many firms employ new business models that place enormous impor...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Dasher Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Dasher Technologies, Inc. ® is a premier IT solution provider that delivers expert technical resources along with trusted account executives to architect and deliver complete IT solutions and services to help our clients execute their goals, plans and objectives. Since 1999, we'v...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MIRAI Inc. will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MIRAI Inc. are IT consultants from the public sector whose mission is to solve social issues by technology and innovation and to create a meaningful future for people.
SYS-CON Events announced today that TidalScale, a leading provider of systems and services, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TidalScale has been involved in shaping the computing landscape. They've designed, developed and deployed some of the most important and successful systems and services in the history of the computing industry - internet, Ethernet, operating s...
SYS-CON Events announced today that TidalScale will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TidalScale is the leading provider of Software-Defined Servers that bring flexibility to modern data centers by right-sizing servers on the fly to fit any data set or workload. TidalScale’s award-winning inverse hypervisor technology combines multiple commodity servers (including their ass...
Amazon is pursuing new markets and disrupting industries at an incredible pace. Almost every industry seems to be in its crosshairs. Companies and industries that once thought they were safe are now worried about being “Amazoned.”. The new watch word should be “Be afraid. Be very afraid.” In his session 21st Cloud Expo, Chris Kocher, a co-founder of Grey Heron, will address questions such as: What new areas is Amazon disrupting? How are they doing this? Where are they likely to go? What are th...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM has been named “Diamond Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.
Infoblox delivers Actionable Network Intelligence to enterprise, government, and service provider customers around the world. They are the industry leader in DNS, DHCP, and IP address management, the category known as DDI. We empower thousands of organizations to control and secure their networks from the core-enabling them to increase efficiency and visibility, improve customer service, and meet compliance requirements.
Join IBM November 1 at 21st Cloud Expo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, and learn how IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Cognitive analysis impacts today’s systems with unparalleled ability that were previously available only to manned, back-end operations. Thanks to cloud processing, IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Imagine a robot vacuum that becomes your personal assistant tha...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM has been named “Diamond Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, will lead you through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He'll look at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that N3N will exhibit at SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. N3N’s solutions increase the effectiveness of operations and control centers, increase the value of IoT investments, and facilitate real-time operational decision making. N3N enables operations teams with a four dimensional digital “big board” that consolidates real-time live video feeds alongside IoT sensor data a...
In a recent survey, Sumo Logic surveyed 1,500 customers who employ cloud services such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). According to the survey, a quarter of the respondents have already deployed Docker containers and nearly as many (23 percent) are employing the AWS Lambda serverless computing framework. It’s clear: serverless is here to stay. The adoption does come with some needed changes, within both application development and operations. Tha...