Recently, I spoke with Kevin Schmidt of Sun Microsystems regarding Open ESB, a community-driven open-source ESB used by Sun and other companies. Sun contributed Open ESB to the community under the CDDL license years ago, and uses it as the basis for its JBI reference implementation, as well as its Java Composite Application Platform Suite of applications (JCAPS or Java CAPS).
Currently, all of Sun's ESB-based development is being done in Open ESB, with code and features being made to the community first, and then used as part of its commercial products. Although led by Sun, the Open ESB community is currently at over 500 members, most of whom are individuals. However, some of them are other corporations who build products around Open ESB, from binding components to integrate with other applications, to JBI-compliant products. Overall, there are over 30 non-Sun code contributors to the Open ESB project. Contributions range from binding components and adapters, to other unique components such as connectors for RSS feeds, SIP components, and XMPP interfaces to instant messaging systems.
Recent releases of Open ESB have aligned it more with both GlassFish and NetBeans. In fact, Open ESB plugs into both of the seamlessly, and all they leverage each other's functionality. For example, Open ESB and the core JBI runtime (including binding components and engines) are released as part of Glassfish. Developers now have a new way to seamlessly integrate SOA-based components into their applications, as wall as a way to build new web services. The tooling required to do so has since been folded into NetBeans; no longer does it require a separate download of what was the NetBeans Enterprise Pack. This allows you to work not only with Java, but also XSD, WSDL, and BPL within NetBeans to build, deploy, and consume web services and other SOA components.
This strategy has resulted in a large increase in awareness of Open ESB, as well as adoption of Sun's commercial products built around it, such as Java CAPS. This serves as a real-world example of how open-source initiatives have been leveraged to result in an increase in commercial business (to license the technology).
Future of Open ESB
Java Business Integration (JBI) is a standard with a reference implementation that describes an enterprise-wide architecture and implementation around SOA. It includes the use of an ESB at its heart for global integration and communication. The expert group for JBI 2 was formed around nine-months ago, and all of the reference implementation for it will be done through the Open ESB project. New capabilities will include:
-Integration with instant messaging (IM) communication systems
-RSS feed integration
-Support for intelligent event processing and complex event processing for event-driven systems
-More GlassFish and NetBeans alignment. For instance, Glassfish V3 includes a modular, profile-driven, application server. Open ESB will be part of one of these profiles
-Support for a growing number of languages
Other things to watch include Open ESB's alignment with Java CAPS version 6, to be released next quarter, as well as a new sub-suite within Java CAPS around ETL and master data management. Overall, Sun is promising extreme transparency into its commercial product roadmaps via the related open-source development projects.