Iona pack links CORBA and Web services

Network executives looking to bridge their existing object-oriented network environments with emerging Web services technology will get an assist this week from Iona Technologies PLC.

The company is releasing XMLBus Edition 5.4, one of three components in its Orbix E2A Web Services Integration Platform. With Version 5.4, Iona is providing software that integrates Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA) environments and the Web services world built on XML and Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP). XMLBus Edition already offers integration with environments built on Java, Enterprise JavaBeans, Microsoft's .Net and Common Object Model.

Iona is one of the traditional heavyweights in the CORBA world, and XMLBus Edition 5.4 represents its efforts to ensure existing CORBA implementations remain relevant as customers move toward using Web services, the next generation of component-based architectures.

"Web services is very much CORBA for the Web," says Joanne Friedman, vice president of electronic business strategies for Meta Group. She says Iona is providing a migration path for CORBA users into the Web services world. "When Web services matures to the point where business process objects are themselves Web services then you are really pulling from what CORBA is and was."

XMLBus Edition is an all-inclusive package that includes a development, deployment and management platform for Web services. The deployment infrastructure can run alone on any Java Virtual Machine or on Java 2 Platform Enterprise Edition application servers from Iona, IBM or BEA Systems.

XMLBus Edition 5.4 features the Operation Flow Designer, which automates the mapping of CORBA interfaces to Web services interfaces. The designer enables back-end calls to CORBA, which allows multiple components to be exposed as a single Web service.

The software also supports using security credentials contained in a SOAP message to access a CORBA back end.

Iona has added features that mask CORBA object references to allow SOAP, which cannot understand those references, to interact with CORBA systems.

XMLBus Edition 5.4 supports Iona's own CORBA implementations - Orbix 2000, Orbix 3 and ORBacus, and Borland's VisiBroker.

"This is a release that satisfies a large number of customer requirements [for integrating CORBA]," says Rebecca Dias, senior product manager for Web services infrastructure and XMLBus Edition.

Dias says 5.4 is the start of a complete Web services infrastructure that will include features such as security, asynchronous messaging and support for the Universal Description, Discovery and Integration (UDDI) protocol.

Iona also plans to develop broader support for message queuing and offer it as a Web service, and add mechanisms for fault tolerance, load balancing and clustering.

The software costs US$500 per developer for the development tools and $2,500 per CPU for the deployment environment.

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