No Mosying For This Open Source Mule

The Mule open source enterprise service bus (ESB) is moving upstream with its latest release, a round of venture capital financing and the launch of its commercial support firm MuleSource.

Mule is a Java-based integration platform designed around an enterprise service bus architecture (ESB).

ESBs  enable various applications and components to communicate with each other in a predictable way for service-oriented architecture (SOA) .

Mule, which claims to have over 200,000 downloads, pushed out its 1.3 release with features to make it even more integration friendly.

These include integration with XFire SOAP  and transaction support for BEA Weblogic, IBM Websphere, JRun, JBoss, Resin and Generic Jndi-based support is also included.

Mule has now also won the support of venture capital firm Hummer Winblad and Morgenthaler to the tune of $4 million. The cash will support the newly established MuleSource, which will offer commercial support, as well as indemnification and management tools.

MuleSource CEO Dave Rosenberg said the new company is fulfilling a need that no other open source entity currently provides.

Ross Mason, founder and CTO of MuleSource, said the Apache Synapse ESB effort, which is currently in its incubation stage, doesn’t meet enterprise expectations.

“They [Apache Synapse] are really approaching everything from a Web services perspective and that really doesn’t work for many use cases of this technology,” Mason told “For anything that has to be high performance or high throughput and low latency, Web services doesn’t really cut it.”

“If anything we’ll use pieces of their stack in our stack because Web services is a part of what we do,” Mason added.

MuleSource’s CEO Rosenberg figures that the key competition is BEA , TIBCO  and IBM .

True to its open source roots, MuleSource isn’t going to build out a giant enterprise service company, Rosenberg said. However, they will hire a sales staff and start pushing Mule through the channel.

According to Rosenberg, the barriers to adoption of Mule are mostly related to market noise around SOA and ESB.

“It’s hard from an end user’s point of view to understand what each of these products actually does,” Rosenberg said. “… The advantage with Mule is you can just download it and figure it for yourself and see if it fits your needs.”

However, Mule does have at least one technical disadvantage when compared with its large, commercial peers: tooling. The commercial vendors have all pumped resource into tool development.

“One thing that I think has probably hindered our adoption is that we haven’t had a good development environment where you can drag and drop,” Mason admitted. “We’re actually working on that at the moment.”

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