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From conflue...@apache.org
Subject [CONF] Apache ServiceMix: How to Evaluate an ESB (page edited)
Date Fri, 07 Mar 2008 01:15:00 GMT
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<body>

<div id="PageContent">
<table class="pagecontent" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%"><tr>
<td valign="top" class="pagebody">

    <div class="pageheader">
        <span class="pagetitle">
            Page Edited :
            <a href="http://cwiki.apache.org/confluence/display/SM">SM</a> :
            <a href="http://cwiki.apache.org/confluence/display/SM/How+to+Evaluate+an+ESB">How
to Evaluate an ESB</a>
        </span>
    </div>

     <p>
        <a href="http://cwiki.apache.org/confluence/display/SM/How+to+Evaluate+an+ESB">How
to Evaluate an ESB</a>
        has been edited by             <a href="http://cwiki.apache.org/confluence/display/~bsnyder">Bruce
Snyder</a>
            <span class="smallfont">(Mar 06, 2008)</span>.
     </p>
    
     <p>
                 <a href="http://cwiki.apache.org/confluence/pages/diffpagesbyversion.action?pageId=78405&originalVersion=7&revisedVersion=8">(View
changes)</a>
     </p>

    <span class="label">Content:</span><br/>
    <div class="greybox wiki-content"><h1><a name="HowtoEvaluateanESB-HowtoEvaluateanESB"></a>How
to Evaluate an ESB</h1>

<p>When faced with the need for integration middleware, it's a natural progression to
consider the adoption of an ESB. In doing any software evaluation, it's important to approach
things in manner that utilizes your requirements as a central instrument in the process. There
are commonly two levels of evaluation that need to take place when considering the adoption
of any software including your business requirements and the feature set of the software;
your business requirements and the ESB feature set. There are many topics in these two levels
of consideration and they will be reviewed here. </p>

<h2><a name="HowtoEvaluateanESB-YourBusinessRequirements"></a>Your Business
Requirements </h2>

<p>It's important that you begin with your business requirements. Without a solid understanding
of your business requirements for a given application, you're spinning your wheels and the
effectiveness of the project diminishes immediately. You don't necessarily need all the requirements
up front, but you need a starting point even if you're using agile methods to develop your
software. This is where a knowledge of your business purpose is important even for the software
developers. </p>

<h3><a name="HowtoEvaluateanESB-YourBusinessPurpose"></a>Your Business Purpose</h3>

<p>Don't say that your business purpose is SOA. That is the <em>how</em>,
not the <em>what</em>. SOA is nothing more than a way of thinking to design software.
Your business purpose is the goal you are trying to achieve for the business through the use
of the software you are developing. Here is an example: </p>

<div class="panel"><div class="panelContent">
<p>Our business goal might be to combine weather data with mapping data to provide customers
with instant weather predictions for destinations when they make travel arrangements via our
travel portal. This improves not only our customers' trip planning but also allows our advertising
system to target customers with more appropriate advertising. This will improve not only the
customer experience but will also match the most relevant ads with our customers' travel planning
in an attempt to improve ad click-through rates. </p>
</div></div>

<p>Notice that the business purpose focuses on the goal of the software from the business
point of view. The purpose is to: </p>

<ol>
	<li>Improve the customer experience through the use of weather and mapping</li>
	<li>Improve the click-through rates of the ads on the website</li>
</ol>


<p>Understanding your business purpose puts you in better control of driving the functional
requirements to meet the goal. </p>

<h3><a name="HowtoEvaluateanESB-YourFunctionalRequirements"></a>Your Functional
Requirements</h3>

<p>Once the business goal of the software project is understood, then move on to the
functional requirements. Below are some examples of functional requirements for the business
purpose listed above: </p>

<div class="panel"><div class="panelContent">
<ul>
	<li>Provide access to weather data
	<ul>
		<li>This requires integration via a socket to pull the data</li>
		<li>The data is binary so we'll need to parse it properly and effectively</li>
	</ul>
	</li>
	<li>Provide access to map data
	<ul>
		<li>Google offers the Google Maps API for programmatic access to map data</li>
	</ul>
	</li>
	<li>Create a new layer for Google Maps to overlay the weather on the map for the customers'
destination city</li>
	<li>Using the destination and its weather forecast for the trip, send hints to the
ad delivery system to target the ads to the trip</li>
	<li>If the customer clicks through an ad, save information about this ad in the database
and link it to the customer profile
	<ul>
		<li>This will allow us to improve our predictions about what this customer might like
to purchase in the future</li>
	</ul>
	</li>
</ul>
</div></div>

<p>The functional requirements improve dramatically when the business purpose is identified
and clearly communicated to all stakeholders in the software development projects. Such requirements
are going to drive the architectural decisions in the systems and the software. </p>

<h3><a name="HowtoEvaluateanESB-YourArchitecturalDecisions"></a>Your Architectural
Decisions </h3>

<p>Before you begin speaking to any vendors, its also important to establish some architectural
decisions about the software being developed. These are not written in stone but are definitely
subject to change. Architectural decisions include what will be used to achieve the goals
and requirements of the project. This includes designing the system in a service oriented
manner, use of specific software packages and maybe even the hardware and software necessary
for developing and testing the software project. You may have even made some of these decisions
implicitly throughout the earlier exercises. If so, it's important to identify and communicate
these decisions explicitly to the necessary stakeholders so that there is an appropriate level
of clarity amongst the group. </p>

<p>By working through these exercises, you should now have not only a set of artifacts
to share with all stakeholders via your wiki, but you will also have your criteria for evaluating
ESBs. </p>

<h3><a name="HowtoEvaluateanESB-YourCriteriaforEvaluatingESBs"></a>Your
Criteria for Evaluating ESBs </h3>

<p>Any appropriate software evaluation requires knowledge of items discussed above.
Without a good grasp of these topics, it's difficult to equate use of the software with meeting
specific goals. </p>

<p>It's also important that a software evaluation is not based on checkbox marketing
(i.e., comparing feature sets side by side). This style of evaluation doesn't provide a picture
into the actual use of the software. Feature-based comparisons are meaningless without hands-on
experience. For example: </p>

<ul>
	<li>What if software package A claims to provide secure access to resource X but it's
a bear to use the API?</li>
	<li>What if software package B advertises features 1, 2 and 3 but its performance is
awful?</li>
</ul>


<p>Hands-on experience with a given software package in <b>your</b> environment
is a high priority. When you're talking about ESBs this is even more critical because ESBs
handle system integration and no two system integration scenarios are ever the same. Using
an ESB in <b>your</b> environment to solve one or two of <b>your</b>
problems via a proof-of-concept will provide you with a much more informed and realistic set
of expectations than will any feature comparison. </p>

<table cellpadding='5' width='85%' cellspacing='8px' class='infoMacro' border="0" align='center'><colgroup><col
width='24'><col></colgroup><tr><td valign='top'><img src="/confluence/images/icons/emoticons/information.gif"
width="16" height="16" align="absmiddle" alt="" border="0"></td><td><b class="strong">ESB-oriented
architecture: The wrong approach to adopting SOA</b><br />
<p>When considering the data you already have created through the steps above for evaluating
an ESB, you should also be aware that an <span class="nobr"><a href="http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/library/ws-soa-esbarch/index.html"
title="Visit page outside Confluence" rel="nofollow">ESB-oriented architecture is the wrong
approach to adopting SOA<sup><img class="rendericon" src="/confluence/images/icons/linkext7.gif"
height="7" width="7" align="absmiddle" alt="" border="0"/></sup></a></span>.
In this article, Bobby Woolf makes a case that it's not a good idea to adopt an ESB without
a plan to identify and construct the services that are the core of an SOA. This is an ESB-specific
instance of a general IT problem about which much has been written: You should not adopt any
technology without first considering the value that technology will produce.</p></td></tr></table>

<h2><a name="HowtoEvaluateanESB-TheESBFeatureSet"></a>The ESB Feature Set
</h2>

<p>Now that you have your criteria for evaluating an ESB, let's move on to answering
the question, <a href="/confluence/display/SM/Is+ServiceMix+the+Right+ESB+for+Me" title="Is
ServiceMix the Right ESB for Me">Is ServiceMix the Right ESB for Me</a>?</p>
</div>


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