Making It Easy to Build a Service-Oriented Architecture

Promising hefty productivity increases and a lower TCO (total cost of ownership), Tibco Software this week announced its beefed-up ActiveMatrix 2.0, which aims to simplify building and managing service-oriented architectures (SOAs).

This latest release adds BusinessWorks, which is available either in standalone mode or as a container hosted in the ActiveMatrix infrastructure, and Service Bus, a new lightweight enterprise service bus (ESB), that helps integrate services while using content or context-based routing.

It was just a year ago that I had a BriefingsDirect SOA Insights Edition podcast devoted largely to Tibco and ActiveMatrix. At that time, the panel of analysts saw newly announced ActiveMatrix as a definite shift in the trajectory that Tibco had been on.

Start to Finish

I also conducted a sponsored book review podcast last year with Tibco architect Paul Brown on the concept of Total Architecture, which ActiveMatrix 2.0 undergirds, for sure. Disclosure: Tibco has been a sponsor of my BriefingsDirect podcasts.

ActiveMatrix 2.0 includes expanded and deep support for service component architecture (SCA) to automate and unify the assembly, deployment, hosting, and managing of SOA projects and services.

With ActiveMatrix 2.0, Tibco says users can manage SOAs with combinations of Java, .Net, and broad service mediation and orchestration of both existing custom and packaged applications.

Tibco has great hopes for the new release. According to Matt Quinn, vice president of product strategy: “As organizations embark upon broader SOA initiatives, business and IT users need tools that can help them harness services across multi-vendor platforms and scale to meet the most demanding enterprise environments. The Tibco ActiveMatrix product family continues to evolve to help all types of businesses at any phase in the SOA life-cycle to reduce the complexity with developing, deploying and managing service-oriented applications.”

All ActiveMatrix 2.0 products can be purchased separately or as part of three packages — the Tibco SOA Starter Bundle, the Tibco Integration Bundle, or the Tibco Composite Application Bundle.

Thinning Vendor Field

On the vendor sports angle, Tibco remains one of the few remaining standalone commercial middleware/SOA infrastructure vendors. With BEA now under the auspices of Oracle, Cape Clear under Workday, Iona Technologies also remains independent (but appears to be in play, with Software AG rumored to be in pursuit).

The field of vendors not gobbled up by larger inclusive providers include focused and component-based providers such as SOA Software, and a slew of open source and commercial open source providers — from MuleSource to WSO2 to Red Hat. Disclosure: WSO2 has been a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts. Disclosure: Iona Technologies has been a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.

Many of the open source providers are rapidly expanding their SOA infrastructure purview, not the least of which is this week’s Red Hat announcements about its SOA stack, built significantly from the JBoss community.

Benefits of Open Source

I remain bullish on open source SOA, and we may soon see the real cost-benefits competition occur not between the large, comprehensive suppliers like IBM, Oracle and Microsoft — but more generally between open source SOA providers and commercial ones. As with IONA and Mule, we also see that combinations of open source development and commercial distribution and support can be a powerful and productive tag-team.

SOA infrastructure lends itself well to community development and advancement. I expect to see more SOA action, too, at the upcoming EclipseCon event in March.

Dana Gardner is president and principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions, which tracks trends, delivers forecasts and interprets the competitive landscape of enterprise applications and software infrastructure markets for clients. He also produces BriefingsDirect sponsored podcasts. Disclosure: Genuitec sponsored this podcast.

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