Tibco gets on the enterprise service bus
Fast, well-designed BusinessWorks 5.3 marks Tibco's entry into the SOA enterprise
For years after the emergence of the ESB (enterprise service bus), IBM and Tibco refused to acknowledge the market space. In frequently reiterated statements, both companies took the position that their messaging products provided the same capabilities without having to use the ESB moniker.
The fallacy of these views was finally made clear as SOA continued to gain ground and impatient IT customers looked to true ESB vendors for their core infrastructure. Eventually, IBM and Tibco accepted the concept and began shipping ESB products that — surprise! — include features not found in their messaging offerings.
BusinessWorks 5.3 is Tibco’s first foray into ESBs, and it shows that the company really understands what the market is looking for. Rather than the rough edges you would expect from a new product, BusinessWorks 5.3 has a mature, intelligent feel to it, as well as a passel of features that many enterprise customers will find attractive.
Getting down to business
The BusinessWorks “platform,” as it calls itself, provides the messaging and service bus infrastructure for enterprise integration and SOA-style ESB needs. It can ride above Tibco’s Rendezvous messaging layer, or use the popular alternatives of JMS and IBM MQseries. It defaults to Tibco Rendezvous, which is an established, scalable, high-performance, real-time messaging technology.
Many of the accompanying layers of services have been carefully designed not to compromise the performance of the message routing mechanism. All internal operations in the ESB use binary XML as their internal data format. And to process this format quickly, Tibco wrote its own XML stack using technology obtained in its acquisition of Extensibility in 2000.
Where possible, BusinessWorks avoids the overhead of wrapping data and actions in SOAP envelopes. Multilayered SOAP files have a justified reputation for degrading performance, due to applications’ need to parse them frequently and jigger them to meet format constraints. Instead, Tibco’s adapters provide a shortcut to data transfers wherever they can. For example, legacy COBOL applications use copybooks to describe file layouts; BusinessWorks 5.3 can read these copybooks directly and marshal data accordingly without recourse to a SOAP file.
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