Iona open source ESB melds multiple technologies

Celtix Enterprise is readied

On Monday, Iona will release Celtix Enterprise, an enterprise service bus for departmental usage and SOA, in a move to leverage the hybrid business model arising around open source software.

Through this model, the company will provide the software for free under an open source paradigm while selling subscriptions for ancillary services and support. In development for about18 months, Celtix mixes in pieces from multiple open source projects and offers capabilities for service routing and messaging.

"The main driver [for Celtix] is that people would like to service-enable their existing IT environment and this allows them to do it in a very low-cost way," said Debbie Moynihan, Iona director of open source programs.

With Celtix, Iona is expanding its view of open source technology, seeing it as a revenue generator and not just as a lead-in to its commercial Artix ESB, said analyst Tom Rhinelander of New Rowley Group.

"What's now happened with Celtix is it's matured and they said, 'Look, we think this can be a real product,' " Rhinelander said.

Celtix provides capabilities needed to get started in SOA, Rhinelander said. "Celtix is really about moving up from basic Web services to an SOA," he added.

Several open source components comprise the Celtix ESB platform. These include:

* Celtix Advanced Messaging, which provides messaging based on AMQP (Advanced Message Queuing Protocol). It serves as an alternative to platforms such as IBM MQSeries. Iona's AMQP implementation was derived from the Apache Incubator Qpid project.

* Celtix Advanced Service Engine, based on the Apache CXF project, which merges the Apache Celtix and XFire projects. The services engine offers a pluggable services framework and supports standards such as SOAP and WS-Security.

* Service routing and transformation capabilities from the Codehaus Mule ESB.

* Tooling for services development through the Eclipse SOA Tools Platform Project.

Iona with Celtix is trying to provide an entire SOA infrastructure stack in a single solution. Also packaged with Celtix are the Spring, ServiceMix, and Tomcat servlet containers, to enable customers to deploy services across a variety of technologies. The containers serve as runtime environments for deploying services.

Celtix differs from Iona's commercial Artix ESB, which is geared for much larger service deployments and can run on systems such as mainframes. Celtix runs on a Java Virtual Machine and can only integrate with over systems that use a JVM.

The Advanced Service Engine and Advanced Messaging components also will be available unbundled from Celtix. "For people who just want to get started in a lightweight, small-footprint kind of way, they can do that with the Celtix Advanced Service Engine," Moynihan said. 

Service and support prices for Celtix Enterprise start at $900 for six incidents of support. 

Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.