Sonic ESB 7.0 Adds SOA Lifecycle Tooling

Sonic Software is preparing to release Sonic ESB 7.0, an Enterprise Service Bus upgrade designed to simplify development, deployment and change management. Sonic's ESB 7.0 targets these issues by adding an Eclipse-based tools workbench, and approaches to enhance reliability and visibility of SOA projects - in the design phase and live. IDN speaks with Sonic CTO Dan Foody about the upgrades.

Tags: ESB, SOA, Reliability, Eclipse, Web Services, Environments, Configuration,

Sonic Software is preparing to release an upgraded Enterprise Service Bus offering, attacking what its CTO says are some of IT's toughest ESB issues - simplifying development, deployment and managing changes through the lifecycle. Sonic's ESB 7.0 targets these issues by adding an Eclipse-based tools workbench, and approaches to enhance reliability and visibility of SOA projects - in the design phase and live.

IDN speaks with Sonic CTO Dan Foody about the upgrades.

Sonic ESB 7.0's Eclipse Workbench
Sonic ESB 7.0's Eclipse-based workbench is designed to help IT expand their current first-gen SOA projects, by exposing more IT members to the project while keeping the all on the same page. In specific, Sonic ESB 7.0's tools include features for modeling, configuration, testing and deployment across multiple teams and distributed systems.

"What we're finding is companies that started a year or so ago with SOA pilots or initial SOA projects are now looking at broader implementations of SOA," Foody told IDN. "And that means they want to expand their smaller scale projects across a much wider part of their infrastructure. That means distributed services that require multi-team support."

In specific, Sonic Workbench 7.0 includes:
  • Process Modeling: Visual, drag-and-drop palette for building process flows across distributed services. The modeling supports BPEL and (other?) standards-based business process notation.
  • Configuration: Metadata-driven configuration models allow provide architects and devs point-and-click capability to create services and implement ESB process flows across distributed topologies. Use of these metadata techniques for configuration preserves Drill-down access to underlying code.
  • Testing: Ability to test and debug ESB processes from a desktop or in full pre-deploy test environments. New diagnostics also provide "triage" for live, distributed deployments.
  • Debugging: A fully-distributed ESB Process Debugger allows devs to view and debug a process executing across multiple, distributed services. A visual "step-through" distributed debugging process can be supported in a live deployment, without disrupting other ongoing processes
  • Deployment: A system of traceability reporting features determines the dependencies of services and/or composite applications, analyzing the impact of changing processes onto a live production environment.

    Use Cases with Sonic ESB 7.0 Workbench
    With the Sonic ESB 7.0 Eclipse-based Workbench, devs can :
    * More easily expose ESB processes as web services;
    * Invoke web services from ESB Processes;
    * Graphically create complex data mapping, transformations and queries; and
    * More quickly expose relational "data sources" as services for wide scale re-use

    Features include: (a) Java Services with Eclipse debugging; (b) Editors for XML, XSLT, XPath and XQuery; (c) Editor for Sonic Database Service SQL; (d) Editor for Content-Based Routing.

    As for configuration and testing, the ESB 7.0 Workbench also supports faster test cycles using pre-configured test scenarios and environments, and allows "live" tracking of service interaction and business process flow. Among the features that make design and live configuration possible are:
    * Features: In-editor XML mapping/query testing
    * Built-in ESB Containers for in-editor testing
    * Distributed process debugger
    * Real-time tracking message viewer
    * ESB Message Editor, Sender/Listener
    * Integrated Eclipse Java debugger
    * Web services invocations
    * ESB Processes
    * XSLTs
    * Sonic Database services
    * Sonic XMLServer services
    * Sonic Orchestration Server processes

    Sonic ESB 7.0's Life-Cycle Implementations
    Sonic ESB 7.0 also provides implementations of Web services reliability and security standards, including WS-ReliableMessaging, WS-Addressing, WS-Security and WS-Policy. But, beyond this latest WS-* support, Foody said Sonic's approach to reliability goes further.

    "WS-* standards can only provide so much in terms of reliability," Foody said. "In many cases, there are other issues, such as bandwidth or disc availability, that are the true bottlenecks to performance and reliable services"

    With those hardware implications onto SOA in mind, Sonic ESB 7.0 is engineered to avoid failures of distributed SOA operations by leveraging the company's Continuous Availability Architecture (CAA). With CAA, if any node of the distributed SOA operation should fail, ESB 7.0 can ensure that Web services communications start flowing again immediately, eliminating the hours often required to recover using traditional high-availability hardware and software products.

    Additionally, Sonic ESB 7.0 extends the Sonic CAA for high-throughput environments. For high-throughput environments, Sonic ESB 7.0 also works with CAA Fast-Forward, a reliable messaging technology that eliminates the bottleneck created by disk writes, offering more than an order of magnitude higher throughput than any other reliable messaging system on the market.

    Sonic ESB 7.0 also uses distributed processes and Dynamic Routing Architecture to optimize performance and orchestration over LANs and WANs.