Iona offers open source ESB

Iona on Monday unveiedl Celtix, an open source ESB (enterprise service bus) project that will be Java-based and hosted by the ObjectWeb open source community.

With a target release date of late-2005, Celtix features a new code base, although its architecture is modeled on Iona's commercially available, higher-end Artix ESB, said Eric Newcomer, Iona's CTO. Iona views the role of the ESB as infrastructure for SOA deployments, which enable applications to be developed out of a combination of reusable services.

Developers will be able to contribute to Celtix, Newcomer said. Celtix will offer base-level ESB features such as support for SOAP, XML payloads, and WSDL. Other technologies supported include WS-RM (Web Services ReliableMessaging), JMS (Java Message Service), HTTP, and Java Business Integration APIs. Eclipse-based administration and configuration tools also will be featured.

But Celtix will lack the more sophisticated features of Artix, Newcomer said. Artix offers higher levels of security such as single sign-on and bridging to federated security domains as well as two-phase commit for transactions.

"Celtix is going to do just what we consider kind of the commodity-level transports," Newcomer said.

With its Celtix project, Iona is appealing to the growing open source movement. "We have some customers [say] that they really need open source," Newcomer said. Similar to other open source business models, Iona hopes to leverage Celtix by providing value-added services and enticing some Celtix customers to purchase Artix.

Asked if Celtix eventually could encroach on Artix, Newcomer acknowledged the possibility. "We're certainly aware of the risk of creating an open source project like this," Newcomer said. "It's more important for us to embrace the change [to open source] than fight it."

Artix is priced at US$5,000 to US$10,000 per CPU.

ObjectWeb already has had a group of nine member companies, mostly in Europe, working on a toolbox for building ESBs, ObjectWeb spokesman Francois Letellier said. "Iona brings expertise and visibility and they bring yet another very huge and mature project to the ESB initiative," Letellier said.

Another open source ESB project, Mule, also has been in development. It features a J2EE 1.4 ESB and message broker and is hosted by Codehaus.

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