• 02/13/2008
    6:38 PM
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Tibco Adds ESB to ActiveMatrix

The BPM suite now extends deeper into SOA, including what Tibco calls a lightweight ESB.

Tibco has launched ActiveMatrix 2.0, the latest release of its BPM and SOA suite. The new version adds an ESB to ActiveMatrix's existing registry and orchestration offerings, also improving support for SCA (Services Component Architecture), a standard that Tibco hopes will help with interoperability between services developed on different platforms.

The ESB market isn't new to Tibco: The company has been shipping what it calls an integration bus since 1996, when SOA was unknown and before anyone outside of research labs had considered Web services. But until now, Tibco split ESB functionality in two: Low-level translation and routing was the responsibility of BusinessWorks, a comprehensive integration suite that developed from its earlier efforts, while ActiveMatrix handled high-level orchestration. BusinessWorks isn't going away "- there's a new version of it included in higher-end bundles of the new suite -" but it's no longer strictly necessary for Tibco customers. The new release introduces the ActiveMatrix Service Bus, which the company describes as a lightweight ESB.

The release of ActiveMatrix Service Bus is the latest in a long string of moves that illustrate the ESB's commoditization, perhaps even shifting from a product to a feature. All large application platform vendors now sell ESBs, with IBM, Iona, Red Hat, and Sun even giving them away for free. Cape Clear, the last remaining ESB pure-play, disappeared last week.

Tibco is far from the only vendor seeking to merge BPM with SOA. On the SOA side, giants like IBM and Software AG see BPM as a potential killer app for SOA, thanks to an ROI that's relatively easy to demonstrate. On the BPM side, competitors like Fiorana and Vitria have successfully merged the two.

One big attraction is that BPM offers a programming environment for people who aren't programmers, which can potentially be expanded into ways to develop other composite SOA-based applications using (relatively) simple models. Microsoft has talked of plans to expand this to all applications through its Oslo initiative. Last week, Vitria launched O2, a Flex-based environment aimed at business analysts building composite applications. Other competitors include enterprise mashup players like Serena Software, which are increasingly targeting the BPOM modeling space.


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