Iona Tightens Open Source, SOA Bond

Open source and SOA (service-oriented architecture) areincreasingly joined at the hip. These twins are developing in tandem, not sequentially, which is giving CIOs and architects a variety of choices for picking and choosing the projects and products that make up theirSOAs.

Iona Technologieson Monday introduced a broader Apache-based set of open source SOA initiatives with the introduction of Celtix Enterprise, which expands theESB (enterprise service bus) offering to include other open source technologies such asQpid, which implements the Advance Message Queuing Protocol (AMQP) specification, andActiveMQ, theJMS 1.1-based messaging middleware that uses AMQP (Advanced Message Queuing Protocol). Celtix Enterprise also includes Eclipse-based tooling supportingJBI (Java Business Integration), Tomcat and Spring.

Smaller Choices

There’s a lot more to the news today. To better understand the history and progression of SOA and open source, two open source experts from Iona Technologies — Oisin Hurley, a distinguished engineer with Iona and Eclipse SOA Tools Platform Project lead, and Debbie Moynihan, director of open source programs at Iona — joined me recently for a deep-dive discussion into the SOA open source landscape.

The podcast explains the objectives and accomplishments of the Celtix Enterprise initiatives.

Listen to the discussion (31:37 minutes).

Here are some excerpts:

Moynihan: “People will have choices [on SOA], and it’s not about making some huge decisions for a big hub that’s going to be in the center of everything, but rather smaller choices in a lot of different places, because of the evolution of standards, and because of this rapid innovation that’s happening at the community level, which is pretty rigorous. It might seem chaotic from the outside, but it’s actually quite rigorous. And in the community-development approach there are also many vendors, which gives you choice as well. It’s not just a single vendor.”

Hurley: “There are a lot of problems that are being addressed in different aspects of SOA. Where two different aspects of SOA may be somewhat similar, it’s quite normal to have different projects addressing those pieces. It’s also quite normal for them to grow together to provide another picture, another single approach to addressing those two aspects.

“I don’t think that means that everything will all come together into one, single consolidation. There will always be a level of diversity there, because there will always be communities. There will always be people who want to develop things differently. That will actually drive the evolution of the quality, and will drive the innovation within SOA.”

Vendor-Supported – Not Commercial

Moynihan: “What we launched (Dec. 4) is really an expansion of our existing approach to distributed SOA infrastructure, where we did have products in the market already, which were company-developed products. What we announced are community-developed products under the umbrella offering Celtix Enterprise, an open source offering that ties together multiple open source projects in a cohesive way.

“Users can take that and use it to get started today on implementing a distributed SOA infrastructure. If they choose, they can have the benefit of support from Iona. You called it ‘commercial open source.’ I would say it’s ‘vendor-supported open source,’ because it is an open source license, and you can go to our site and you can download the code and use it today. If and when you choose to get support, then you would come back to Iona, and we would work with you to determine what the right level of support would be for you.

“So, I would really say that it is an open source offering backed both by our expertise in bringing the community-developed projects together, and then the integration, as well as providing an ‘easier to consume’ offering. We also offer more documentation, tutorials, demos, and things like that, to make it easier to get going with open source SOA. For those who are looking for enterprise support, we also offer that. But I would say that’s an additional offering that we came up with.”

Road Map

Moynihan: “So, we have this open source offering, and it’s actually a family of offerings where we have Celtix Enterprise as an open source ESB. We have Celtix Advanced Messaging, an open source message broker, which is an implementation of the new AMTP Protocol, the new open standard for sending messages.

“Then, we also have Celtix Advanced Service Engine, which is based on theApache incubator CXF project, which is for creating services and service-enabling your overall infrastructure. Complementary to that, for those who want it, we also offer enterprise consulting and training support.

“The road map going forward would be that we will continue to evolve a collection of offerings, both company-developed like our Artix portfolio, which today meets a lot of requirements around distributed SOA Infrastructure — as well as a lot of requirements that are not available in open source today — as complementary to our open source portfolio.

“We want to offer our customers the benefits of open source, but also offer them additional capabilities so they can scale and get beyond what’s available in open source. We can provide all the additional capabilities they need with our full product portfolio. I think what Iona brings to that road map is all of our expertise in being able to continue to add capabilities to our open source offerings, because, as you know, a lot of people are predicting that by 2010, upward of 80 percent of companies will be using a combination of closed and open source code.”

Have alisten to the podcast orread the entire transcript.

Dana Gardner is president and principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions, which tracks trends, delivers forecasts, and interprets the competitive landscape of enterprise applications and software infrastructure markets for clients. He also producesBriefingsDirect sponsored podcasts. Disclosure: Iona Technologies is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect business productivity podcasts.

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