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Leveraging Information and Intelligence

David Linthicum

Why "ESB" will be Dead in a Year

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The notion of ESB has been getting some knocking around lately. Why, because of what the vendor community is doing to that term, it's confusing everyone I know that's seeking SOA solutions right now. Indeed it's getting a lot of negative blog-perspective lately, including this, this, and this.

This does not mean that ESBs are bad technology; I'm sure many of the ESB products out there work well. I'm just pointing out the fact that ESB, the term, has three major drawbacks...it's overused, over hyped, and confusing. Again, generally speaking.

The fact of the matter is that no two ESB products are alike. Some are messaging systems with Web services interfaces, others are renamed message brokers, and other are orchestration layers that no longer want to be orchestration layers now that BPEL has a few black eyes. It's a marketing push that's leading many vendors to jump on the ESB bandwagon, but it's actually just making SOA, which is very complex already, even more confusing, which is not good for this emerging space.

So, what do you do? Just say no to ESB. Focus on your own requirements, and what the product does specifically to meet them. It matters not if it's ESB, EAI, B2B, SaaS, or EIEIO. Look past the marketing at what the product does, and draw your own conclusions. If you do that, the whole ESB thing will just stop, and ESB, the term not the technology, will no longer be interesting but the solutions will.


To me ESB is a pattern that I have seen used (and have been using) long before this hype cycle began. The pattern will continue to exist long after this hype cycle has passed.

Amen. Now wouldn't THAT be refreshing?! Before reading the negative blog entries I experienced the same questions and conclusions like spontaneous combustion.

But then again, what else is new? As a technologist and marketer, it's painful to witness. Unfortunately, you could apply the EIEIO theory to your choice of tech market...


While I agree with your view that what it is does is more important than what it is called. I can't agree with your dismissal of the whole ESB term.

I also disagree with Jim Webber's views that you reference.

Read the detail on on my brand new blog in "The Enterprise Service Bus: Ugly Duckling or Beautiful Swan" at ronanbradley.typepad.com/ronan_bradleys_soa_weblog/.

Ronan Bradley

(Thanks for your kind words a couple of weeks back - they were much appreciated.)

Hmmmm, Ronan & David doing some blog rolling?

Industry expert Dave Linthicum tells you what you need to know about building efficiency into the information management infrastructure

David Linthicum

David Linthicum is the CTO of Blue Mountain Labs, and an internationally known distributed computing and application integration expert. View more


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