Cape Clear set to release new ESB software

Forthcoming version to add security, scalability

Cape Clear Software Inc. is about to release a new edition of its ESB (enterprise service bus) software, adding new security and scalability features to its SOA (services-oriented architecture) platform software.

ESB is middleware software that acts like glue in an SOA, coordinating and monitoring tasks involved in linking applications and data sources together using Web services protocols. Various vendors define the nebulous term in different ways -- its creator, Sonic Software Inc., is so fed up with the confusing ESB messaging that it plans to put a stake in the ground by issuing a formal ESB definition next week at a Gartner Inc. Web services summit.

But for Cape Clear Software, which bills its software as "the world's only true ESB," the key to the technology is a services-focused, open-standards-based suite of integration components. Cape Clear 6.5, due for general release Tuesday, includes software for exposing business data and processes for reuse in other applications and for orchestrating services, along with a studio development tool and a browser-based manager application for configuration, monitoring and diagnostics.

The new version includes a unified SOA toolset entirely built around the open-source Eclipse IDE (integrated development environment), a new security policy framework based on the WS-Security standard, and enhanced scalability features such as clustering and load-balancing capabilities.

Forrester Research Inc. rates Cape Clear as one of the leaders in ESB technology, although it notes that Cape Clear's software is most suitable for large organizations with heterogeneous infrastructures filled with custom-built applications.

"[Cape Clear] has grown its offering to a broad suite by adding service orchestration and some management features, and now has one of the deepest implementations of the Web services stack available," Forrester's analysts wrote in a November report on the ESB market.

Based in Waltham, Massachusetts, Cape Clear is a small, privately held company that launched in 1999. Big vendors like BEA Systems Inc., Oracle Corp. and Sun Microsystems have also entered the ESB market as the SOA approach gains steam. Forrester estimates that 77 percent of large enterprises will be actively implementing SOAs by the end of this year.

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