I’m currently working to find the best Enterprise Service Bus for a project. Nothing unusual there. Something I’ve done a few times before. Except this time the requirements are a little more unusual than which kinds of transformation the tool supports.

Functional requirements:

  1. The ESB must fit with Smart421’s SOA patterns.
  2. The ESB need not be a one-box solution. We’re happy to mix and match tools around the outside. BPEL in particular is not necessarily a mandatory part of the core product.

On the face of it, not too tricky. In practice, maybe a little harder: In our view, the ESB isn’t a piece of software in the first place, it’s a collection of (continuously changing) standards and policies that govern the interactions that take place across the essentially empty void between two services, so we’re looking for something that’s compatible with that view, rather than something that wants to sit at the centre of the SOA universe (more on this later, perhaps). Let’s look at the non-functionals:

  1. The ESB must be Open Source, be based on an Open Source product, or there must be an Open Source version available.
  2. The ESB must have an established presence in the market – the latest and greatest features aren’t enough. We’re looking for something that has some industry buy-in.
  3. It must be possible to buy in support for the product from a third party, should we need it.
  4. The ESB must support light weight development. We must be convinced that easy things are easy achieve, and hard things are proportionally (and not disproportionately) harder.
  5. The ESB must offer a non-functional envelope that allows it to support a large scale enterprise application, preferably without restricting us to vertical scaling.

I’m intending to follow a fairly standard product procurement process to help select the technology, so the next step is to set some more formal selection criteria and identify some candidate products to form the ESB core.

At the moment, the obvious candidates for me are:

I’ll keep you posted as I progress… Comments/suggestions/vitriol welcome!