Enterprise service buses hit the road
Cape Clear, Iona, and Sonic suites lead the way toward services-based integration
Nevertheless, with solid links to J2EE and provisions for ORB (object request broker)-protocol integration, Cape Clear presents a finely wrapped, pure-play ESB package suitable for boutique and midsize integration projects.
Founded by Jan Baan, Nordic creator of the once-innovative Baan ERP system, Cordys is the only vendor in our roundup to incorporate a collaborative portal in its suite. Formerly known as the Cordys Business Collaboration Platform, Cordys 4.2 also includes integration middleware, an orchestration engine, and a design studio for developing business rules and modeling processes and workflow.
In addition to being the window into graphical activity monitoring, the portal serves as a foundation for centralized content development and e-learning, thanks to a WebEx plug-in. (No surprise; WebEx is a company in which Baan also has a hand.) Although the portal is a nice touch, the specific KPI (key performance indicator) templates and business intelligence capabilities still have room to grow.
Unlike the other vendors here, Cordys requires you to supply your own Web server (Microsoft IIS or Apache) and database (Oracle Database or Microsoft SQL Server), increasing up-front licensing costs. Cordys also requires you to set up a central LDAP registry for storing configuration information. The Cordys Admin Repository Server (based on OpenLDAP) is provided, but Netscape Directory Server 4 may also be used.
Cordys’ browser-based interface offers access to centralized management and development tools, including run-time monitoring and debugging. The IDE provides good graphical tools for process and application modeling, easy configuration and deployment of applications, and standard mapping for XML data transformations. On the downside, process simulation is absent and Cordys’ WSDL format is proprietary.
The Cordys IDE allows development from several vantages, focusing either on value chain, business context, or straightforward process modeling. Although modeling is currently based on BPML (Business Process Modeling Language), Cordys indicates that BPEL import is forthcoming with eventual migration to full native support.
Architecturally, deployment used to require that each SOAP-processing end point be configured in its own JVM. With this release, Cordys allows you to reduce resource overhead by running multiple processors in a single virtual machine. Caveat deployer, however: Doing so would also make it possible for one nasty bug or system restart to bring down your entire system.
All of the Cordys platform’s functions are extended as Web services and reachable through SOAP calls. Cordys’ message bus also supports Microsoft MQ and includes fair provisions for fail-over. Cordys also offers a JMS connector, but it has not been certified as compliant with the Sun spec and it has never been tested in a customer deployment.
The basic security features include support for Windows-based authentication and ACLs (access control lists). The bundled ACL editor is a nice touch.
Cordys’ ESB shows good promise. Despite various shortcomings, the components of the suite are surprisingly mature for a five-year-old company. The absence of provisions for enterprise management systems (SNMP or JMX), and overdependence on third-party adapters for business-to-business and mainframe integration may limit its appeal in certain circles.