The CEO of Iona Technologies Plc has sounded a note of caution in the debate about the merits of service oriented architecture, the new development and integration paradigm that some are claiming will revolutionize software development by linking distributed web services.
In an interview with ComputerWire, Iona’s CEO Chris Horn said that, For all the talk about service oriented architecture (SOA), we need to be realistic. Yes, it may be more agile, and yes it may help you build components more quickly and give you better component reuse and the like. But you are also talking about going from the situation today where you have 10 to 100 applications, to a situation where you might potentially multiply that by a factor of three in terms of the number of services.
Are management applications ready for that, he continued, and will those services be robust when working together? What about operations management, and reliability? I’m not sure people have thought all of this through yet.
Dublin, Ireland based Iona has in recent years moved beyond its CORBA roots into web-services based integration, describing its Artix middleware product as an Extensible Enterprise Service Bus (ESB). Horn says the ESB can help to add some of the capabilities missing from other SOA development projects, including reliability, management and extensibility.
According to Horn, unlike some ESBs, Artix does not rely on proprietary message-oriented middleware, but instead supports the likes of IBM, BEA and Tibco messaging. The idea of an ESB is valid, Horn said, but it should leverage existing assets. It can provide a standard, like a standard railway gauge, but you don’t want to rip up your existing track. That’s why we’re middleware agnostic.
Iona is currently on version 2.0 of its Artix product and it claims to have around 30 customers on the product. The next version, 3.0, will be launched in February, and it will apparently see the product moving up the stack, according to Horn, which means the addition of features which are more akin to business activity monitoring (BAM). Other than that, all Horn would say was that performance, ease-of-use and flexibility will all be improved in the 3.0 release.
Iona issued a profit warning and missed its targets in its second quarter ended June 30, ultimately posting sales of $15.2 million, down marginally from $16.4 million in the year-ago period. It posted a net loss of $1.9 million, improved from the $25.4 million loss posted a year earlier. It is due to announce its latest figures later today (October 14). Competitors in the ESB space include Sonic Software, IBM, BEA, SeeBeyond, Software AG and Cape Clear.