Iona Embraces Mainframes, Eclipse in New ESB

Iona Technologies enhanced its flagship enterprise
service bus (ESB) by adding support for mainframe systems and
integration with the popular Eclipse development platform.

Designed to help enterprises exchange and integrate data written in
disparate languages, Artix 3.0 helps facilitate Web services
messages across service-oriented architectures (SOA)

While previous ESBs limit integration points to limited transports and
payloads, Artix 3.0 extends endpoints within systems with custom plug-ins.
It also supports more protocols, data models, security standards and
development platforms than ever, said Iona CTO Eric Newcomer.

Specifically, Newcomer said Artix 3.0 features platform support for the
popular Eclipse and Visual Studio development platforms, as well as for
mainframes. For example, users can use Artix to integrate Microsoft .NET
with an IBM mainframe to serve a customer call center application with
several thousand users.

Expanded application platform support for WSDL , J2EE, Java servlets and native C++ containers is also part of the mix. Other
improvements include integration with IBM Tivoli and Computer Associates
WSDM and support for WS-Atomic Transaction WS-Addressing and UDDI
. Support for WS-ReliableMessaging will be included this year,
Newcomer said.

Artix 3.0 will be available by the end of the first quarter this year, with
a typical deployment starting at $10,000 per CPU.

“We see the ESB market as segmenting between lower end, middle and
high end,” Newcomer said. “At the high end, we see a strong requirement for
these extensibility features, broad platform support and quality of

Iona has its roots as a company providing CORBA-based
integration software for the likes of Lockheed Martin, AT&T, Credit Suisse
and Boeing.

For example, Newcomer said that Credit Suisse has used Iona’s CORBA software
to power its SOA since 2000. In a modern-day, real example of how an SOA is
meant to operate, the bank runs roughly one billion transactions on it per
year, he said.

But as computing demands are changing, Iona has begun to drill down into
offering an ESB for new-age distributed computing systems that use Web
services and adhere to SOA principles. Artix grew from that banking and
telecommunications customer base.

Noting that Artix has always been a high-performance tool, ZapThink analyst
Jason Bloomberg said Iona’s mainframe integration sets it apart from many
of the other ESB vendors, and puts it into competition with Seagull Software, NetManage, HostBridge and others.

“The challenge IONA faces, however, is in differentiating the rest of its
ESB message from other vendors like Sonic Software,” Bloomberg said.

“Extensibility is not really a strong differentiator, as competitors’
products are also quite extensible. We’d like to see them emphasize their
performance more, as that’s always been their strong suit.”

Newcomer said that while Iona certainly bumps up against rivals like Sonic
Software and Cape Clear in corporate accounts, those run-ins are largely
relegated to smaller deployments.

“At the high end of the market, we don’t see anyone with the same type of
technology that we have,” Newcomer said. “Gartner is predicting similar
technology to be delivered by BEA, IBM and Microsoft over the next couple of

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