IONA: ESBs Deliver Telcos Low-Cost Agility

Iona Technologies' Artix ESB is helping one of Europe's largest telcos build its next-gen services infrastructure. The Iona win shows ESB' maturing power to integrate with legacy, easily enable new services, and support complex standards. IDN interviews one Iona exec to put its ESB telco win in context for enterprise IT.

Tags: Telco, Web Services, Artix, Infrastructure, Technologies, SOA, Enterprise,

Iona Technologies' Artix extensible ESB will play a key role as one of Europe's largest telcos builds out its next-gen infrastructure. The Artix' win shows ESB/SOA growing ability to integrate with legacy, let customers easily add new services, and comply with many standards. IDN interviews an Iona exec to understand what the Artix win means for enterprise IT.

In specific UK telco Aepona will include Artix in its new Universal Service Platform. Aepona chose Artix, Iona execs said, because it will allow the telco to more easily offer new services to customers -- without disrupting network and application resources. Further, Artix readily supports a new services-based telco standard Parlay/X.

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Iona CEO Peter Zotto said telcos are keenly interested in ESB/SOA solutions, due to the telco sector's distributed networks, and telco's growing needs to "offer competitive new services to subscribers on a timely basis, at significantly lower costs."

IDN interviews Artix product manager Ram Krishnamurthy to learn more about the telco's interest in ESBs/SOAs, and what impact telco demand for high-performence ESB/SOA features is having on others in enterprise IT.

Integration Developer News interview with
Ram Krishnamurthy, product manager-Artix
Iona Technologies

TOPIC: Telco 'Legacy-to-Web' Integration through ESB/SOA
IDN: Your work with Aepona includes ParlayX, which allows telcos to extend their CORBA architectures to web services. How aggressive do you believe telcos will be in adopting ESBs and web services in 2007?

Krishnamurthy: Extending CORBA application to Web services is a trend we are seeing that is gaining momentum. Service providers are finding that they can realize the benefits of Web services by leveraging existing infrastructure, not ripping it out and replacing it wholesale.

In fact, some of our customers have already deployed ESBs and Web services technologies to extend their mission critical systems as part of new initiatives. Others are in testing or the due diligence mode. Again, with better education and understanding of SOA we expect this trend to accelerate.

TOPIC: Telco Lessons for 'Legacy-to-Web' for Enterprise IT
IDN: Are there lessons from telco's need for real-time support for web-to-legacy that can be applied to enterprise ESBs?

Krishnamurthy: There are definitely requirements for incorporating legacy environments into today's more Web services based telco environments. Specifically in regard to the mainframe, we see much of the work related to the OSS/BSS areas. For example, using an ESB to expose legacy billing apps located on the mainframe to clients based on .NET, all while maintaining the quality of service required by the telecommunications industry.

TOPIC: Coming Demand for ESB/SOA in Telco
IDN: Some analysts and vendors say we are "just at the start in a wave of telco [infrastructure] convergence." Would you agree with that?

Krishnamurthy: Yes, we certainly agree with your assertion that the sector is at the beginning of the wave. To stay competitive wireless service providers are under constant pressure to introduce newer services and killer applications. Also, with much consolidation in the telecommunication industry, a single provider or carrier is in a position to offer services in wireless, wire line and broadband space. Identifying common infrastructure in such situations and reusing them to deliver converged services such as VCC (Voice Call continuity) from wireless to wire line to broadband, helps reduce time to market of introduction of these services.

TOPIC: Other ESB/SOA Trends
IDN: Interesting. What other new services opportunities do you see arising from using services architectures to help deliver telco convergence?

Krishnamurthy: Supporting convergence at the service level has implication on all aspects of service provider infrastructure including OSS/BSS, network and content. For example, a single billing application that manages billing and provisioning across wireless, wire line and broadband increases operational efficiency in terms of reducing complexity of systems, cost and time. At the network level, emerging architectures such as IMS (IP Multimedia System) help create converged applications between fixed and mobile domains such as VCC (Voice Call Continuity). IMS also helps create complex services using existing service, for example, a flexible content distribution as a combination of content distribution service with an announcement service such that the user makes informed decision about the content based on announcements.

TOPIC: Growing Demand for ESB/SOA Skills
IDN: As IONA sees growth in services infrastructure, What skills are now in demand? And, again, could you describe these demand trends not just for telco, but for enterprise IT in general?

Krishnamurthy: Understanding SOA concepts and Web services, we think, will be skills critical to architects and developers. For architects it involves understanding ESB technology, registry, repository and management concepts as related to SOA. For developers, it involves understanding WSDL, SOAP, XML, JAVA and dynamic languages. We think that the skills users have developed in existing technologies would be relevant even with the emergence of SOA and Web services as SOA is all about reuse.