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Iona stresses incremental SOA with new Artix ESB

With Artix 4.0, Iona rolls out new packaging and pricing designed to allow incremental adoption of service-oriented architecture. New BPEL and Eclipse-based mainframe tools added.

Most service-oriented architecture buildouts are incremental, so Iona Technologies Inc. is breaking apart its enterprise service bus (ESB) to better fit how its customers want to acquire new technology. Version 4.0 of Artix, announced today, features enhancements and a new packaging and pricing model that is intended to allow incremental adoption.

Orchestration is a critical capability that should be in an ESB.
Larry Alston
Vice President of Marketing and Product Management Iona

According to Larry Alston, vice president of marketing and product management for the Dublin-based company, Iona broke apart its standard and advanced versions of Artix, so now there is just one core version with all advanced features available "a la carte."

"The packaging and pricing was changed to be incrementally adopted," Alston said. "People who move to SOA, that's not one product. It's an architectural movement, a journey. It's not a turnkey thing. Our customers require that they can incrementally adopt technology to help them move to SOA and not paint them into a corner."

Version 4.0 of Artix is designed to help customers achieve the three things they're mandating, Alston said: Greater ROI from current and future technology, a modernized and streamlined IT that is more responsive to business and reduced annual operating costs of running the infrastructure.

Artix 4.0 now ships with Java Messaging Services as a standard messaging API, in addition to the other transports it already supported, and includes support for WS- Reliable Messaging. Artix's new BPEL-based orchestration allows Business Process Execution Language to be executed either at the endpoint or as an intermediary and the Eclipse-based development environment permits orchestration flows to be added to SOA environments without code changes.

"Orchestration is a critical capability that should be in an ESB," Alston said. "It's different than BPM. It's a technical orchestration capability for developers to use, not a business analyst. That's why we see it as part of an infrastructure backbone. You can deploy our orchestration engine in two ways: To an Artix endpoint to run right on the service itself or as an intermediary."

The orchestration engine also runs in a Celtix endpoint, an open source ESB project that Iona is leading. "The differentiator is the benefits of not running on top of an application server," Alston said. "It runs in a lightweight Artix container. It can run mobile to mainframe and is highly secure. It adds a small footprint, which is a really big distinction from a big footprint, centralized orchestration server. The benefit of an ESB is that it is lightweight and standards based. It should not require you to buy dedicated hardware to run a server-like solution on top of."

New data services capabilities are also included, and Artix's support for z/OS environments has been upgraded, including enhancements to the Eclipse-based development environment that allow mainframe services to be built and deployed from the same GUI. Artix 4.0 also allows message queuing clients to be connected directly with IMS and CICS environments.

"We wanted to ensure people who use our product and who also access the mainframe can use the same tooling environment," said Alston. "That happened in 4.0. Last year with 3.0 we retooled all the tooling for Artix as Eclipse based. Now we made sure that works with the mainframe as well. Iona has a major commitment to the Eclipse community."

The main thrust of Artix 4.0, Alston said, is it "allows customers great flexibility in adopting our technology from both a technology perspective and a dollar perspective. In the old days of hub and spoke you probably had to acquire more than you needed initially. That's why CIOs are frustrated that they overbought packages as well as infrastructure. Version 4.0 is about doubling down on the architectural imperative -- to be technology agnostic so the endpoint can run natively, to be dynamic and agile to snap in capabilities and [to deliver] packaging and pricing in a modular way for incremental adoption."

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"One of the appealing things about Artix is they're [Iona] not trying to impose a heavy layer on people," said Sean Willett, a principal analyst at Current Analysis, Inc. "It's what differentiates them from a lot of the players. It's a more lightweight way to construct an SOA or help construct an SOA. I think large companies with IT staffs will find it appealing because they have a lot of infrastructure already."

Willett added, "Flexibility is what users are looking for."

Artix 4.0 is available now for $10,000 per server processor unit. That includes the core pluggable architecture, support for HTTP and IIOP transports, basic security, the Eclipse-based UI, the JMS and WS-RM, and data services. Support for additional transports (such as Tuxedo, TIBCO and MQSeries), advanced security, etc., begins at $2,500 per server processor unit. Orchestration is a $10,000 per CPU plug-in.

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