Enterprise Service Bus Effort Under Apache Incubation

The Apache Software Foundation is now incubating a web services broker/
Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) project called Synapse. The new effort aims to
provide an open source implementation that will challenge existing
commercial implementations that are based on proprietary protocols.

According to the Synapse proposal submitted to the Apache Software
Foundation,”Synapse will be a robust, lightweight implementation of a highly
scalable and distributed service broker / ESB based on Web services
specifications.”

The effort is being backed by Blue Titan, Infravio, Sonic Software, Iona
and WSO2.

“It started with us and Infravio and then it grew thru various
connections to the current cast of characters,” Sanjiva Weerawarana Founder,
Chairman & CEO of WSO2 told internetnews.com. Weerawarana is also a member
of the Apache Software Foundation as well as the WS PMS and a committer to
the Apache project. WSO2 is a Web services software platform startup
company.

The Synapse effort aims to construct components that will ,”work together
with Axis2 and other Apache and open source projects to create a flexible
transformation, management and routing system.”

The term Enterprise Service Bus (ESP) is somewhat of a contentious term
to some and the Synapse proposal goes into detail about what they
specifically mean by the term. Sonic Software itself an ESB vendor (as well
as an initial committer to the Synapse project) said that Synapse wasn’t
a full blown ESB.

“This project is related to ESB , but it is not in itself an ESB,” Dave
Chappell, Sonic Software’s VP and Chief Technology Evangelist told
internetnews.com,. “What Synapse bring to the table is a mediation framework
that allows users to get in the middle between service requesters and
providers and perform various tasks – including transformation and routing
and that helps to promote loose coupling between services ”

Davanum Srinivas Co-Founder & Vice President of Engineering at WSO2 and
also a member of the Apache Software Foundation said that whether Synapse
is intended to be an ESB is a tough question because the definition of an
ESB is nebulous.

“If anyone says “hey it’s an ESB” then it is an ESB,” Srinivas said.
“But the bottom line is we want to build components that can talk to each
other using pure web services protocols.”

WSO2’s Weerawarana added that the function is basically a web services
intermediary functionality. He went on to explain that the functionality
could be used to build an ESB (like Sonic may), or to do policy based
management (like Blue Titan may) or just to provide an environment for
mediations (like WSO2 may).

“So while Synapse will indeed be usable on its own right, it will
definitely be something that’ll contribute to larger stuff too,” Weerawarana
said.

Regardless of how you define the ESB functionality, Synapse is all about
standards.
“Synapse is important because every other implementation of an
ESB/Broker/Gateway is implemented using proprietary protocols and web
services support are layered on top of that,” Srinivas explained. “For us
the core and guts is all the WS protocols.”

The project will not “commoditize” ESB either, according to Sonic
Software’s Chappell. Chappell noted that Synapse will provide a common
framework that both the open source community and vendors alike can agree
on.


“We have plenty of things as an ESB vendor to compete on and to
differentiate on,” Chappell said. “We’ll continue to innovate and provide
things like our continuous availability architecture, management
infrastructure and value added services.”

Chappell argues that rather than commoditizing ESB, Synapse will help to
drive convergence for the common things and help promote interoperability.

“Synapse will provide a common ground or a common set of components that
can be used across ESB or across web service management platform,” Chappell
said. “It allows us as vendors who compete in those spaces to focus on our
own particular value-add.”

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