All the products fared well in centralizing application integration, and all have good tools for defining business processes. Perhaps not surprisingly, most of them also suffer from complex configuration and setup procedures, and the price tags may give your CFO palpitations. However, well-stocked feature sets will make the cost recoverable, and training is available for all the products.
Lots of Contenders
There are many EAI vendors out there, with offerings ranging from simple processing of database data to multiproduct systems that contain conventional EAI, BPM (business-process management), programmable APIs and support for popular standards. For our tests, we insisted on queue or message support, BPM and centralized reporting. Then, to reduce the number of products under test to a reasonable number, we further limited our selection based on market leadership.
With these requirements in mind, we invited BEA Systems, GXS, IBM Corp., Iona Technologies, Mercator Software, SeeBeyond Technology Corp., Sun Microsystems, Sybase, Tibco Software, Vitria Technology and WebMethods into our lair to see how well they integrated our NWC Inc. information systems. Sun declined, citing resource issues; WebMethods said it felt integration software was too complex to test in the time line we proposed; SeeBeyond asked for more detail about the review but would not commit; and Mercator, Iona and GXS never responded to our numerous calls and e-mails.
That left us with BEA Systems, IBM, Sybase, Tibco and Vitria. BEA Systems, Sybase and IBM were kind enough to work around release date/test date conflicts by sending us products shipping at the time of testing, though new versions will be on the street by the time you read this.