Recently, I visited one of the prospects in the retail industry to discuss about an intiative they were taking up to evaluate ESBs. With ample confusion in the industry about ESB, I assumed that they are looking for an off-the-shelf product/platforms claiming to be ESBs(I do not outrightly reject those claims) that can give them the desired benefits.
With an application landscape that consists of number of stand-alone home grown and packaged applications and predominantly point to point batch interfaces(file based) often developed as and when required by business, clearly there was plenty to look forward in terms of creating an Enterprise SOA?(I always restrict myslef from talking about Enterprise SOA with customers as this is not something which is a mere technolgy thing and can be acheived overnight)
But, having ESB in place, ofcourse helps an enterprise to move towards SOA. But, lets not forget that it is only a small part of the whole story. You can easily end up having a non SOA architecture inspite of having the ESB(s) in place that I would discuss in a later post.
So, coming to the point, what one should you look for in these products during evaluation..
- The architectural fit with existing platforms and technology
- Completeness of the stack and ESB features (ex. routing,transformation,service mapping etc)
- Additional features for SOA (ex.Business Process Management, Business Activity Monitoring and Portal etc)
Note: Mere claim by the vendors would not suffice, you have to look for the support details for their completeness..
- Performance (Some kind of benchmarking..)
- Fault tolerance, Management and Monitoring etc