JBoss joins ESB fray

Company also prepares app server upgrade

Filling out its open source middleware stack, JBoss has unveiled its ESB (enterprise service bus) as well as revealed core technologies planned for an upcoming application server upgrade.

Announcements were made at the JBoss World Berlin conference in Germany.

JBoss's middleware is critical to parent company Red Hat's SOA (service-oriented architecture) strategy. "SOA is really the broad framework of the JBoss [announcement]," Red Hat CTO Brian Stevens said.

Part of the JBoss Enterprise Middleware Suite (JEMS), JBoss ESB 4.0 provides intermediation between enterprise applications, business services, components, and middleware. The ESB, like all of the JEMS stack, runs on Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

"ESB is the platform for bringing an SOA together," said Pierre Fricke, JBoss director of product management.

The ESB leverages JEMS technologies such as the JBoss business rules engine for content-based routing and JBossMQ for messaging. JBoss plans to extend JBoss ESB with additional JEMS products such as JBoss jBPM for business process management and workflow. Partners can extend the ESB with connectors, B2B gateways, and SOA governance. JBoss's ESB is comprised of a technology donation from an insurance company plus contributions from JBoss and other open source projects.

Features of the ESB include a pluggable architecture for swapping out ESB subsystems, support for messaging services such as secure FTP and HTTP, and a transformation engine bridging data formats. XSLT (Extensible Stylesheet Language Transformations) and the Smooks transformation engine for XML and non-XML data formats are supported.

A service registry is featured for service discovery and integration, using JAXR (Java API for XML Registries) and UDDI (Universal Description Discovery and Integration). Content-based routing is provided based on XPath and JBoss Rules.

JBoss business partner SeeWhy Software plans to use the ESB to channel data to its real-time business intelligence platform for SOA. "The ESB is providing basically an event stream onto our service endpoints," said Charles Nicholls, CEO of SeeWhy in the United Kingdom. "In essence, it is providing streams of events for event stream processing."

A release candidate of JBoss ESB 4.0 is available now. A final community-oriented release is available in December. A version of the JBoss ESB supported by the company itself is due in 2007.

As part of its upcoming JBoss Application Server 5.0 release, JBoss has been making available components of that release that can be used with the existing JBoss Application Server Version 4.0.5. JBoss Application Server 5.0 would comply with the Java Platform, Enterprise Edition 5.0 standard.

Components include:

  • JBoss Web Services, which is a JAX-RPC 1.1-compliant SOAP stack.
  • JBoss Clustering, re-architected for improved performance.
  • JBoss Messaging, a JMS 1.1-compatible implementation featuring high availability.
  • JBoss Seam 1.1, which is a unified component programming model and framework featuring data-oriented application wrappers for entity beans as well as integration with the Ajax4jsf framework. Seam 1.1 also reduces the need for database roundtrips via an atomic conversations function.
  • JBoss EJB3, reflecting the final EJB 3.0 specification.
  • Hibernate 3.2 for object-relational mapping.

The beta release of JBoss Application Server 5.0 is targeted for December, with the final release due in the first half of next year.

Meanwhile, IBM is looking to infringe upon JBoss's turf by announcing that its open source WebSphere Application Server Community Edition is growing at a more rapid rate than the JBoss application server. IBM's application server is based on Apache Geronimo.

IBM is citing annual research by Evans Data to back up its claims, saying IBM's offering gained market share of 16 percentage points as opposed to 6.6 points by JBoss. IBM was one of multiple vendors to fund the study on behalf of the Eclipse Foundation.

Paul Krill is editor at large at InfoWorld.

Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.