Over the next 12 to 18 months, IBM will roll out a series of products and technologies that will help solidify its ESB (enterprise services bus) strategy with closer integration of its messaging protocols with its high-level integration tools to form a single infrastructure.
The first of these moves will come late this year or early in 2005 with the delivery of a server in IBM's WebSphere integration family of servers.
"This convergence process is an attempt to reconcile into a single infrastructure all the low-level messaging protocols such as JMS, MQ and IIOP.
The second move is to converge its key application integration tools such as sophisticated message transformation and business process management into what they refer to as WebSphere Business Integration Version 6.0," said a source familiar with the company's plans.
Other sources close to the company said that over the next eight to 10 months, the company will deliver server-based products and tools where integration process capabilities will converge with messaging via a "next-generation approach using service-oriented technologies based on richer web services standards".
This notion of an ESB connecting out to an service-oriented architecture is very important because there is such a plethora of standards and protocols that would be part of a real enterprise messaging system. It is hard work," said Steven O'Grady, senior analyst with RedMonk.
During the past year, IBM has been shipping bits and pieces of technology in a variety of products that corporate developers could use to create their own ESB. Some of those products include WebSphere Business Integration Broker, Event Broker, the Interchange Server it acquired from CrossWorlds, the WebSphere Business Integration Workbench and several others.
The company has also bundled a number of messaging technologies into its WebSphere Application Server such as JMS, a web services software stack, and support for Soap, UDDI and WSDL.
"Instead of a separate stack for MQ Series, another for JMS, and a third stack of web services, they will put together a unified infrastructure by the end of 2005 which combines all these things that will provide message routing and message transformation among all these protocols," one source said.
Sources said when the unified architecture is in place, everything in that environment will "look like a web service no matter what the protocol".
Although observers have called IBM late to the ESB game against competitors such as Sonic Software, Iona Techologies, WebMethods and Cape Clear Software, they also believe IBM can use its wealth of technical resources to compete.
Ed Scannell writes for Infoworld