Service Oriented Enterprise

Saturday, July 26, 2003

Blue Titan in WSM Fabric Space  

I had heard of Blue Titan from their web advertisements but had lumped them into the 'web service management' space along with AmberPoint and friends. Their more recent product literature describes their offering in the 'web service fabric' space - which really is a distinct category.

According to the Blue Titan literature, the 'fabric' facilitates the following functions:
- Register web services
- Associate policies with services (security, management & monitoring)
- propagate policies to endpoints for enforcement
- Capture endpoint runtime execution information, report data
- Feed statistics from endpoints back into the process, repeat as needed

Now, I haven't used the product - but it looks like it sits on top of Web Logic and leverages an Oracle database. This means that it is more than just 'a set of libraries'. It has a library that a service designer would incorporate into their services and it has servers. It is a full blown closed-loop web service management enforcement product.

So, why would they call it a 'fabric'? My best guess is that unlike other products the service management substrate must be built into the software that you are building. It is not an add-on (servlet filter) or a bump on the network (promiscuous sniffer). By providing a library, they are able not only to listen and monitor, but also to control and resolve. Assuming I got the product concept right - it sounds like a good idea.

This raises an interesting question, "what is a service fabric?" I'll attempt to answer that later, for now I think it is safe to say that a fabric must be integrated into the code / services that the developer is writing. It isn't a passive bump or a container. It is an integrated library. Can the library depend on other well known servers / services (or must it be fully encapsulated)? In my opinion the answer is that it can (and often will) have outside dependencies that will be described via WSDL.

For now, I am going to call the Blue Titan offering a 'fabric based web service management platform'. This will distinguish them from the passive bumps and those that monitor via the run-time container (vm, app server, etc.). It is also clear that 'web service fabric' is too open-ended. The Blue Titan offering has some overlap with the TME GAIA, but I would not consider the two direct competitors.

posted by jeff | 7:43 AM

Sunday, July 20, 2003

Defining the ESB (Enterprise Service Bus)  

The ESB or Enterprise Service Bus seems to be the acronym of the quarter. I've been debating some ways to describe the ESB, here are some of my attempts:

"It is a means for a message queue company (like Sonic and Spirit) to make it seem like they do web services when they really spent the majority of their time doing JMS based queues."


"It is a cool sounding buzz-phrase that will lure not-so-smart software developers towards a Java API that sounds like it has something to do with web services. On occassion, they will re-describe the JMS API via WSDL!!!"


"Queuing companies realized that the message queue was essential in an asynchronous, document based service oriented network - thus, they created a cool phrase that steals from three predecessors ("Enterprise" from J2EE, "Service" from SOA, and "Bus" from either CORBA or hardware buses)."

Just kidding of course... but I do think it is a dumb term. For goodness sake, A BUS? Has anyone ever looked at the topology of a service network? :-)

posted by jeff | 5:13 PM