Enterprise Service Bus article part of Industrial SOA series

Everyone seems to need to use an enterprise service bus (ESB) nowadays, but there is so much confusion about its actual benefit and the various concepts this term entails. This uncertainity is revealed in statements like, "Help! My boss says we need an ESB," or "Why do I need an ESB at all? Can’t I achieve the same thing with BPEL or BPMN?" or even "We can do everything ourselves in language X." This article is an attempt to answer some of the most important questions surrounding this term using concrete examples, so that the areas of application that can be deemed "correct" for ESBs can be clarified:

  • What exactly is the definition of an ESB? Is it a product or an architecture pattern?
  • What are some practical uses for an ESB?
  • Do I need an ESB to build an SOA platform?
  • Which requirements do I need to satisfy?
  • Which criteria can I use to select the ESB that is most suitable for my needs?

Defining the ESB
An accepted definition for this term has yet to be firmly established that is most likely caused by a lack of industry standards, whereas standards like BPEL and BPMN 2.0 exist for process engines and other components. The term “Enterprise Service Bus” was coined by Gartner in 2002, and further introduced by the analyst Roy Schulte to describe a category of software products that he observed were available on the market at that time. Ten years later, there is still very little agreement on what exactly an ESB is or what it should deliver. There are different definitions depending on the manufacturer or source. Among other things, an ESB is defined as:

"A style of integration architecture that allows communication via a common communication bus that consists of a variety of point-to-point connections between providers and users of services."

"An infrastructure that a company uses for integrating services in the application landscape."
Read the full article here.

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About Jürgen Kress
As a middleware expert Jürgen works at Oracle EMEA Alliances and Channels, responsible for Oracle’s EMEA Fusion Middleware partner business. He is the founder of the Oracle SOA & BPM and the WebLogic Partner Communities and the global Oracle Partner Advisory Councils. With more than 5000 members from all over the world the Middleware Partner Community is the most successful and active community at Oracle. Jürgen manages the community with monthly newsletters, webcasts and conferences. He hosts his annual Fusion Middleware Partner Community Forums and the Fusion Middleware Summer Camps, where more than 200 partners get product updates, roadmap insights and hands-on trainings. Supplemented by many web 2.0 tools like twitter, discussion forums, online communities, blogs and wikis. For the SOA & Cloud Symposium by Thomas Erl, Jürgen is a member of the steering board. He is also a frequent speaker at conferences like the SOA & BPM Integration Days, JAX, UKOUG, OUGN, or OOP.

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