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Business Transformation in Action

Joe McKendrick

Taking SOA Where No SOA has Gone Before -- Progress Beefs Up FUSE

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Is open source becoming the norm in the emerging generation of SOA solutions?

I recently had the chance to catch up with Debbie Moynihan, director of the FUSE Community and marketing at Progress Software. Debbie was also director of the open source program at IONA Technologies before the company was acquired by Progress in the past year.

We talked about FUSE, an open source enterprise service bus developed by IONA. At the time of the acquisition, there were some concerns about FUSE's fate, especially since Progress had it own commercial ESB product line, the Sonic ESB.

But Progress has reaffirmed the commitment to supporting FUSE, and even has put more resources behind it -- beefing up its engineering team, and adding more marketing muscle. "We didn't actually have a big marketing organization prior to the acquisition," Debbie says. Progress has also directed resources from its Sonic teams, and, in exchange, plans "to incorporate more of the open source components into the rest of the progress portfolio," she adds.

FUSE is based on the Apache ServiceMix project, the open source ESB. Progress supports Apache committers. "The core development of the products are done in the Apache community, and we synch our code repositories for the FUSE products with the Apache code repository," Debbie says. "We then we also do additional testing, additional platform support, additional tooling, things like that, outside the FUSE product to provide additional value as well. And we offer additional support, services and training around the fuse offerings too. The FUSE license is an Apache license as well."

One of the compelling stories in open source is the potential for bringing SOA to unserved and underserved markets -- such as smaller businesses and departments of larger organizations. In essence, people who don't have the budgets for SOA solutions and consultants. SOA has been part and parcel of high-margin business for vendors, but the time for market disruption may be here.

Open source solutions such as the FUSE ESB may pave the way for this shift toward this new generation of commoditized SOA deployments. "If you look at market data traditionally, of application integration and middleware, there always been this component of didn't buy from any vendor, that relied on roll-your-own components," Debbie says.

The availability of open source middleware and solutions also provides deployable solutions to corporate departments that can't get past the budget committees. "I think open source is serving that group of people who maybe didn't have budgets, but also didn't want to go through the hassle of getting budget," Debbie says. "If you don't have the budget, or you don't have the wherewithal to go through the process to get the budget, you can download open source and try it out, and also have some great fun with it. because you can get into the code, you can modify, you can extend the code."

In recent months, there's been plenty of debate over the role of ESBs as part of SOA efforts. Some industry analysts have said that ESBs are at odds with the open, loosely coupled mission of SOA. Debbie says the reality is that many companies are turning to ESBs to get to service orientation. "I see people coming and looking for SOA solutions and ESB solutions, and looking to standardize for a long-term implementation," she says. "Yes, some things weren't developed with service orientation in mind. But people are at a point where they don't want to re-develop stuff that pre-exists. So ESBs help people to re-integrate old stuff and new stuff in a standards way."

1 Comment

I am really sorry for Progress Software if they really think that they can bring SOA to anybody, first, and perform it by offering an ESB (even for free). Well, I am beatiing already dead horse (ESB)...

A small business or even some departments of larger organisations are known by their initial "rational" in dealing with organisational processes and technology, i.e. dealing with them ad-hock. I mean, they set something temporary to solve immediate task and then suffer the rest of the time because the new tasks and their amount do not fit into this 'something' but to change it is equal to going against local 'culture'.

Service orientation requires a discipline and thinking about 'tomorrow' first, and only then allows to implement the 'thing' for 'today' but in line with 'tomorrow'.

If one brings service orientation in to an ad-hock culture, this one has to be ready to fight against cultural 'pragmatism' for perspective thinking. This, actually, relates to both small and large organisations.

In this blog (formerly known as "SOA in Action"), Joe McKendrick examines how BPM and related business and IT approaches can promote business transformation.

Joe McKendrick

Joe McKendrick is an author and independent analyst who tracks the impact of information technology on management and markets. View more


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