The chatty nature and large size of XML messages has spawned markets for specialized appliances that parse or apply security, and perform it much faster compared to software.
At some point, it was inevitable that somebody would take it up a level and package many of the functions of an enterprise service bus as well. That someone is Forum Systems Inc, a maker of XML security accelerators that are available as dedicated appliances or as software.
Forum’s DynamiX service enablement platform handles the transformation, mediation, and routing of web services messages of an ESB. And it also bundles a UDDI version 3 services registry to publish services and policies.
But it doesn’t do the heavier lifting, such as BPEL services orchestration or the provision of application adapters.
We built this other functionality because appservers and message-oriented middleware are not handling this, said Walid Negm, who also claimed that none of these features were handled by a traditional ESB. That’s in spite of the fact that for most commercial ESB products, the same three functions are usually the first thing that they do.
But an appliance that packages the more rudimentary, high throughput processes of an ESB probably has some merit, especially because XML accelerators at the perimeter won’t do anything to help performance once service messages make it onto the bus. Negm claims that, last quarter alone, Forum received roughly 50 customer queries to put this functionality in box.
Forum’s ESB appliance fits nicely with some vendors who still promote the idea that orchestration belongs inside the appserver. And, for organizations just getting their feet wet with SOA, orchestration is something that’s still over the horizon.
The result is an appliance that publishes WSDL service contracts, provides asynchronous communications, dispatches policy alerts, provides load balancing and failover support, and monitors and enforces service level agreements.
DynamiX will be available in mid-late June.