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Forum Systems seeks to replace "outdated" ESB

Forum Systems DynamiX Service Enablement Platform attempts to extend ESB technology through an appliance in order to streamline messaging and enforce SOA policies.

With the launch this week of its Forum DynamiX Service Enablement Platform (SEP), Forum Systems Inc. is positioning itself as an SOA gateway that goes beyond the enterprise service bus.

You know, the ESB, as a product, it's starting to be outdated.
Walid Negm
Vice President of MarketingForum

"You know, the ESB, as a product, it's starting to be outdated," Walid Negm, vice president of marketing for Forum, in discussing the new platform from the company that had been focused on Web services security and XML acceleration appliances.

He quickly adds the Forum understands the value of "a message bus type architecture," but doesn't believe the current ESB model goes far enough.

"What we have trouble with is advocating that the customer go back to the old ways of embedding proprietary APIs at each of the application end points," he said. The Forum approach in DynamiX is to offer open standards for events, long running transactions support and reliable messaging. "That's really our story," Negm said "We can offer a customer an open standards-based approach to do some of his loosely coupled transactions."

Implementing SOA will require a comprehensive platform that covers areas where Forum has technology such as XML acceleration and policy enforcement, he said. "The ESB does not enforce policy. And a big part of SOA is policy."

Negm believes the market he is aiming at is looking for the kind of SOA appliance for XML-based messaging, that DynamiX might fill. He sees a positive sign in IBM's purchase of DataPower, a Forum competitor.

"I think IBM's acquisition of DataPower and embedding it into WebSphere and then putting it on IBM hardware really has validated our strategy, this notion of an SOA gateway that is a flexible product in a flexible architecture," Negm said.

Both Forum's DyanmiX, and IBM's DataPower are aiming at a market he believes is about to explode. Negm points to analyst estimates to back up his optimism.

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IDC reports that the SOA market almost doubled in 2005 to more than $4 billion annually, it projects growth at a 45% compound annual growth rate in the next four years, on its way to being a $14 billion annual market by 2009. In addition he points out that Forrester Research estimates that SOA was being implemented in 2005 by 77% of large enterprises, 51% of medium enterprises and 46% of small companies.

"DynamiX is our expansion into a broader SOA deployment infrastructure market place that we see exploding in the next six to 12 months," he said. "We've usually focused on security, that's our pedigree. We are going to be expanding into areas like monitoring. We're going to be offering a run-time registry capability where we publish WSDL and, unlike traditional registries, which we work with, ours is secure in that the Web Services Description Language document is only made available to you if you have the right credentials."

Among the service registry, monitoring and XML messaging capabilities, other features of DynamiX include:

  • XML Service Bus with asynchronous communication and support for event handling using Web Service standards
  • Dynamic Service Registry featuring aggregation, virtualization and publishing of WSDL contracts, dynamic generation of WSDL document elements, security for WSDL document access and support for OASIS UDDI version 3
  • Collaborative Policy Management with granular distribution of WSDL-based policies to any enforcement node, proactive notification of enforcement points to policy changes, and asynchronous design and version control of policies
  • Web Service Availability with load balancing across multiple end points and multiple failover algorithms
  • Management and Monitoring with the capability to set and monitor service level agreements, run-time exception handling, comprehensive statistics gathering and secure, extensible policy storage.

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