As part of my work prior to updating of “Best of breed ESB” paper, I was recently briefed by Red Hat about their current ESB and SOA related projects which will become a supported ‘product’ called JBOSS Enterprise SOA Platform towards the end of the year.
This puts them rather late in the game when compared to both open source and closed source offerings. Combined with the focus of the briefing on functionality over value, it felt very much like I was talking to the last ESB start-up to appear.
As a characterisation this should not be taken a wholly negative: For a company the size of Red Hat with its strong JBoss application server franchise, it would not have been surprising if they had simply done a me-too ESB to match that available from other stack vendors. Instead they are putting together a much more interesting set of capabilities but lack some others that will required for most serious enterprise use. On the positive, they seem to have a good grasp on the importance of data within SOA including both their MetaMatrix acquisition– once it has been open sourced – and pipeline based transformation (allowing complex manipulation of messages in-flight often required within deployed SOAs). Counter-balancing this, there is still much to do around service life-cycle and in particular how to support service reuse. I won’t attempt to go into much more detail at this time until the report is completed.