Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Integration As A Service

Another interesting (sponsored) podcast was published on BriefingsDirect. Dana Garnder talks with Annrai O'Toole of CapeClear.

The ESB of CapeClear is used by the company Workday to offer integration capabilities around its hosted applications. Workday was created by the founder of PeopleSoft and provides "On Demand Enterprise Services".

During the podcast, the subject of "Integration As A Service" is put forward. Workday uses Capeclear to connect with its customers but also with business partners. The example of ADP is given for payroll processing.

The comparison is made with , which focuses only on integration with its customers and according to Annrai O’Toole, is facing an integration challenge. By the way, one thing I’ve always been asking myself about, is how it can address all its integration needs with web services only. Doesn’t have needs to communicate reliably and asynchronously using e.g. JMS, file transfer or AS2?

Integration-As-A-Service can also be implemented with a hosted integration solution within a large organization. In the podcast, JP Morgan is given as an example of such approach. The internally hosted integration solution provides integration services to the internal customers within the organization. Allowing these internal customers to address there integration needs in an effective manner, avoiding surprises by using a standard pricelist and a standardized way of implementing integration scenario’s.

Another interesting question that is raised is why companies such as Amazon, Google or Microsoft don't provide more subscription based integration services. Something I've been asking myself for a long time. And more in general, why aren't there more and larger organizations providing hosted B2B and integration solutions? In its introduction, Dana Gardner refers to GrandCentral

GrandCentral had a very nice hosted integration solution but went out of business. GrandCentral was the first to provide web services (SOAP) as one of its protocols to connect to its hub. Grand Central also allowed to design processing and transformations online in a Java applet. And to monitor all message flows and individual messages using an online monitoring tool. When I give training about application integration, I always show a couple of screen shots of the GrandCentral solution as THE example of a hosted integration solution.

Finally, I can strongly recommend all podcasts of Dana Gardner at BriefingsDirect. Keep up the good work Dana!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

B2B: open source AS2

Within the open source community, there is a strong interest in integration technology: JMS implementations, Web Services frameworks, ESB's... But there is very limited interest in B2B. There are e.g. (almost) no open source implementations of RosettaNet RNIF or EDIINT AS2 .

One notable exception was the freebxml project with Hermes. Hermes is an open source implementation of the ebXML ebMS 2.0 protocol. The development was started quite a while and was mainly done in Hong Kong.

But recently, things have started moving wrt. EDIINT AS2. Hermes now also provides support for AS2. And 2 other projects have delivered implementation of the AS2 protocol: m-e-c AS2 and OpenAS2 .

Some time ago, I had to implement and test the commercial Seeburger AS2 adapterin a SAP XI environment. To do some initial testing and experimenting, I used m-e-c AS2 as the AS2 software of my fictitious business partner.

The m-e-c AS2 software worked quite OK, although I ran into some incompatibilities . It would be most interesting to do see the results of other compatibility testing for these open source AS2 implementations.

Anyway, a very interesting evolution to see all these open source AS2 implementations pop-up. Congratulations to all the committers!