Next Generation ESB – The Internet Service Bus

Microsoft made available the first version of it’s Bitzalk Services as Community Technical Preview (CTP).
Biztalk Services serve as the basis for the next generation ESB the so called Internet Service Bus (ISB).
Unlike the name suggests it is not dependent on Biztalk Server.

The ISB offers functionality in the following areas:
– Identity management
– Connectivity
– Workflow

It supports point-to-point and relayed connections to improve performance.

Why ISB?

Quote:”The name Enterprise Service Bus reflects the historical focus of ESBs within the enterprise. But as business requirements expand to include interconnectivity between enterprises, and as enterprises factor out portions of their information systems to hosted “solutions, traditional ESB approaches become inadequate.

Microsoft offers the ISB infrastructure as a hosted service that helps to get started with the technology within no time.

Although it seems to be a good idea to have an internet wide service bus, it raises questions that have to be answered before this technology will be accepted.

– How reliable is this infrastructure? As reliable as the internet itself?
– Will it be a free service? What are the costs?
– Does my organization accept the Microsoft dependency? Especially for B2B connectivity?
– How can my organization integrate it’s own security profiles?

Nevertheless the idea of having an internet wide bus infrastructure is interesting and worth to keep an eye on.

Microsofts ESB Offering

If you asked IT professionals about Microsofts offerings in the area of Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) you did not get an answer.
It is not that they had nothing to offer it just seemed that Microsoft did not think that from a marketing perspective it was the right strategy to sell an ESB as a product.
But in fact with Biztalk Server they had the infrastructure whose functionality would be best described as ESB functionality (adapters, message subscription, content based routing, transformation, etc…).
The strategy changed now as Microsoft offers ESB Guidance.
It comprises guidance, components and services that allow to use Biztalk Server as a pure ESB.

Features are:
– Intelligent Routing
– Message Transformation
– Itinerary Processing
– Legacy and LOB Application Adaptation
– Service Orchestration
– Metadata Lookup
– Exception Management
– Distributed Deployment
– Centralized Management
– Business Rule Engine
– Business Activity Monitoring

After skimming through the documentation it seems that the EBS Guidance does not introduce any ground-breaking changes. It is more a description of Biztalk Server from the ESB perspective. It is an example of the modularity and extensibility of Biztalk Server.

Quote: “Many of these components and services rely on features implemented by BizTalk Server 2006, such as the Orchestration, Transformation, and Business Rules engines and the Message Box database.”

If someone asks today about Microsofts ESB offerings, the ESB Guidance is the place to look at.