I am often asked whether open source (OSS) SOA is a reality yet – whether it is ready for prime-time, as they say.
The answer, as is often the case, is ‘It depends’. There are many OSS projects in the marketplace around ESBs, Integration and SOA, but just having a project in place is a long way from having production-ready software. For a start, there are the questions of maintenance, support and even indemnification against possible future legal activities. The most useful projects are those that have an associated commercial company addressing these types of areas.
However, the other aspect to consider is that most opern source projects are started and driven by technically adept programmers, so they tend to be oriented towards programmer usage. In SOA, this may be acceptable, depending on requirements, but it may also be desirable to have a solution more oriented to business analysts. They key is to be clear on what you want, and on what is being offered.
For a longer discussion on this topic, Lustratus has just published a free assessment of one particular OSS integration vendor, MuleSource, and its open source offering Mule. This paper considers a number of these types of key questions over OSS SOA, but of course in the MuleSource context.