We asked Cast Iron Systems, Creative Science, Fiorano Software, Intalio, Iona, KnowNow, Microsoft, Orion, Sonic Software and WDI to send their midtier EAI products to our NWC Inc. business applications lab in Green Bay, Wis. (go to inc.networkcomputing.com for details on that lab and a blog about our testing). We received entries from Cast Iron, Fiorano, Orion and WDI. KnowNow's product didn't meet our requirements because it's more of a transaction aggregator than an EAI tool. Microsoft's BizTalk server, aimed at the high end, does not have a drag-and-drop integration GUI. Creative Science, Intalio, Iona and Sonic Software declined to participate.
After installing the products--Cast Iron Application Router, Fiorano Business Integration Suite, Orion's Rhapsody Integration Engine and WDI's Business Integration Engine (BIE)--in our test bed (see "How We Tested,"), we found them as easy to use as we had hoped, with some notable exceptions. Although our focus was on low-investment projects, some products are viable for a large enterprise.
We use the term integration, whereas some vendors use orchestration and others use routes. They all have the same meaning: the transfer or update of data from a source system to a destination system.