Back in 2007 Kevin Kelly in his TED talk has made predictions about the future of the Internet. It turns out he was right. Applications talking directly to each other are a norm today. Of course, those of us who were in what was called at the time EAI (Enterprise Application Integration) knew that already, but the general public did not appreciate the value of universal connectivity. Until now. These days everyone talks about APIs, standard formats for data, etc. However the truth is, while social networks and public web is built on standards, the vast majority of enterprise data is still locked in proprietary systems, accessed by proprietary APIs, or worse, via file exchanges or direct access to the database (yeah, its you, pre-internet Oracle eBusiness Suite).
The ability of enterprises to create new applications is limited by the ways those applications can reuse existing business logic and data. This explains huge interest in messaging and connectivity products. Some call them ESBs, others call them SOA products, but no matter what you call it, this kind of specialized middleware must provide a set of capabilities that make it easier to connect to many different types of old and new applications, data formats, protocols and be able to perform transformation of the above mentioned things. Synchronous, asynchronous, transactional, reliable and high performance capabilities are a big plus (as they say in job postings).
Where there is demand, there is usually supply. In case of IBM and Oracle, both vendors provide a set of offerings that claim to solve the problem of connectivity. Both vendors claim that they have the “most complete integration solution on the planet”. I decided to take a look and compare. In this first article of the series I will simply look at the products at a high level and in subsequent articles will look into specifics and more in-depth technical and financial TCO comparisons between products. Here is how offerings from these two vendors stack up to each other. Please note that color coding on this comparison is meant to reflect the strength of the product based on (a) Technical capabilities (performance, feature richness, security, scalability, etc.) and (b) Market position (number of users, market share, history, release schedules, analysts’ feedback, etc.)
* – IBM MobileFirst MessageSight messaging appliance is scheduled for general availability in second quarter of this year.
From the table above you can see that Oracle does provide several important connectivity products (the main one is their OSB product that compares to IBM’s WMB recently renamed into IIB), but is missing a number of important components from the platform and is far from being “complete”. In future posts I will compare individual products at a much deeper level, but in the meantime, you can learn more about IBM and Oracle offerings here: