The ongoing facelift of the enterprise service bus continued today as Cape Clear Software Inc. unveiled version 6.5 of its ESB, complete with full Eclipse integration, server clustering capabilities and beefed-up security.
Market forces have pushed ESB pioneers into rapid evolution mode. Large software vendors such as BEA Systems Inc. and IBM have entered the space and a number of open source ESBs are underway. It means companies like Cape Clear, Sonic Software Corp. and Fiorano Software Inc. need to move beyond the messaging oriented middleware (MOM) foundation of their core products.
Cape Clear 6.5 aims to give enterprises more functionality with the open source Eclipse Foundation framework along with load balancing and high availability intelligence for the servers moving Web services through a service-oriented architecture.
Jim Rivera, Cape Clear's vice president of product management, said "certain ESB functionality really should be at the commodity level, or a least it someday will be though there's a huge variance in the level of support at the moment" tabbing multiple transport options and Web services standards support as two likely candidates.
"We need to provide the value on top of that, to make this a tool that can be the foundation for your SOA," he said.
The Eclipse integration adds a full-fledged Java integrated development environment (IDE) to the Cape Clear ESB. Rivera noted that certain Eclipse tools for things such as WSDL design had been available in previous versions of the product, but that those were "separate" offerings and users needed to import an IDE in order to modify their Web services.
Now Eclipse is part and parcel of the ESB itself.
"It allows us to deliver tools much faster than if we built it all ourselves," Rivera said.
The Eclipse backbone brings with it more Business Process Execution Language (BPEL) tools and automatic detection and configuration of application server environments.
Yet perhaps even a bigger advancement for Cape Clear is the new server clustering capabilities. One of the knocks against ESBs in the past is that they've required SOA to conform to their MOM heritage rather than addressing the direct needs of the architecture.
"What clustering gives you is the ability for servers to act in a peer model," Rivera said. "You have the ability to nominate bits and pieces of ownership without having everything flow through one control point to create a bottleneck."
Though it doesn't yet qualify as full XML networking, it does demonstrate Cape Clear's drive to address machine-level issues such as failover and scalability as opposed to resting on its messaging laurels.
In fact, a Forrester Research Inc. report on the ESB market released last Friday ranked Cape Clear at the front of a competitive field in terms of combined offering and strategy.
Security represents the third major area of upgrade in the product. It conforms to the WS-I basic security profile, fully implements WS-Security support and offers up a policy framework based on the not-yet-ratified WS-SecurityPolicy specification.
"The new battleground is enterprise quality of service," Rivera said. "It's no longer about tying things together, it's about moving them in a consistent and reliable fashion."
Cape Clear 6.5 will become generally available on Dec. 6.