Artix 4.0 Takes a Bite Our of MOM Costs

Artix 4.0, the ESB upgrade from Iona, takes another step forward in its vision to craft a set of plumbing, framework, and tools to let enterprise IT easily share services end-to-end across multiple platforms -- including J2EE-to-.NET, J2EE app servers, proprietary middlewares and even to the mainframe. IDN looks at the Artix 4.0 upgrade features getting user attention.

Tags: Artix, Messaging, Customers, Bacon, Support, Deployment, SOA,

Artix 4.0 takes another step forward in Iona's vision to craft a combination of plumbing, framework, and tools to let enterprise IT share services end-to-end across multiple platforms -- including J2EE-to-.NET, J2EE app servers, proprietary middlewares and even between the n-tier and the mainframe.

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"With our latest Artix 4.0 support for transactionality, reliability, service management and tooling, we're seeing clearly that Artix is being seen as a core backbone for service enablement and integration than simply as an add-on," Stephanos Bacon, Iona's vice president, product development told IDN.

The Artix 4.0 upgrades attack three high-level SOA customer requirements, Bacon said.

    1. Despite spending a lot on IT the past 20 years, their perception is that they haven't gotten their money's worth - and now SOA needs to fulfill that promise of leveraging existing investments.
    2. IT needs to cut the cost and improve their capability to deliver updating and new application and data-based services.
    3. CIOs are looking to modernize and streamline their existing hand-coded infrastructure and integration architectures -- without any rip-and-replace of existing technologies.

Inside the Artix 4.0 Attention-Getting
One of the top attention-getters in Artix 4.0, Bacon said, is support for WS-ReliableMessaging standards. While many CIOs say they want WS-* support to ensure integrity of their web services, Bacon said Iona is seeing another important driver - a low-cost way to extend legacy-caliber transactionality to web services.

"The main driver for WS-RM is cases where people want to extend existing MOM [Message Oriented Middleware] infrastructure without buying proprietary licenses," Bacon told IDN. "Customer running MQSeries, or Tibco doesn't want to pay for a client license to install on all their Windows boxes. They would like to build their client apps so if they need to talk over messaging, they can simply use WS-RM, and know they have an onramp onto their big corporate message bus."

Iona has engagements where customers are looking closely at WS-RM to cut a lot of their MOM-related costs, Bacon said. "Yes, costs are such a driver now for customers that we are seeing prospects even looking at Open Source alternatives to cut costs associated with [MOM or other message infrastructure]. This will be a big customer demand."

Artix 4.0 is also tackling deployment of new orchestrated workflows.

Artix 4.0 bundles a BPEL (Business Process Execution Language) engine, which can be coupled with an Eclipse-based UI. The result: devs and non-devs can better communicate with one another about how workflows and application logic should work -- and much of the design-time work can be leveraged when it comes to deployment.

"In Artix 4.0, we distinguish between service orchestration and business process management," Bacon said. Our view is that your service orchestration might be comprised of a number of what we might call 'micro-flows' or a number of existing or new services that you want to aggregate together, such as for inventory control or online transactions. For maximum flexibility and low cost, I don't want to hardwire these together into a C++ or Java implementation."

"We use the base Eclipse [tools] framework, and have added a customized UI that allows users to draw a picture of how they want the new service to operate. The tool eliminates a lot of configuration management, hard-coded integration between code sets, code compiling. It also allows users to do data mapping without writing code (just with XML and Xpath)." The end product can be deployed dynamically, he added.

Inside Artix 4.0 Enhancements
Here's a thumbnail of the Artix 4.0 enhancements:

  • Service Orchestration Artix 4.0's BPEL-based orchestration allows customers to coordinate interactions across multiple protocols and platforms. Further, it also allows BPEL to be executed either at the endpoint or as an intermediary.

  • Reliable Messaging Artix 4.0 supports WS-RM, delivering standards-based reliable messaging utilizing SOAP messages over HTTP and helping customers avoid costly vendor lock-in. Deployed as an Artix plug-in, WS-RM support can be incrementally adopted so that systems can take advantage of a non-proprietary reliable messaging backbone as business requirements dictate.

  • JMS Artix 4.0 now ships with JMS as a standard messaging API, enabling Artix to support a wide variety of vendor-specific JMS implementations. The JMS bundle also makes it easier for organizations that do not already have a messaging platform in place to take advantage of Artix.

  • Data Services Artix 4.0 adds new data services capabilities, making it easier to access, integrate, and exchange existing enterprise data across a wide range of platforms. The Artix 4.0 data services allow the use of any protocol to query and update data source, eliminating the need for an intermediary server. Artix data services can be added incrementally in only those endpoints that require data access capabilities. Further, data resources can be manipulated and queries changed via the Artix Eclipse-based development environment.

  • Artix for z/OS Enhancements Upgrades to Artix 4.0 support for z/OS environments makes it easier to make mainframe assets equal citizens in SOA deployments. The Eclipse-based development environment allowing devs to build and deploy mainframe-friendly services from the same GUI and new WSDL first PL/I support eases development of services based on this platform. Artix 4.0 also features the ability to connect MQ clients directly with IMS and CICS environments.

  • Artix 4.0 is available now, with Artix runtime priced at 10,000 per CPU, and plug-ins starting at $2,500 per CPU.