Posts Tagged ‘WebSphere DataPower’

Catch up blog – closing on ESBCON

September 29, 2009

So it has been too long since I found time to write a blog entry. And we have a busy time with the Business Agility Now launch coming hard on the heels of the Smart Work launch. But before I cover some of the key areas these look at I feel I ought to finish off the last 3 tough questions from ESBCON8.

Here are the last 3 questions:

Discuss how your ESB supports SLA, zero downtime and cross-department integration ?

For current ESB users, can you detail popular second-generation projects with quick ROI?

How does your ESB accelerate ‘Design-to-Deployment’ with tooling, widgets, automated integrations, etc?

Lets see whether I can give my thoughts on these in a succinct manner. First what about SLA, downtime and cross-department integration? As ESBs become more pervasive and their presence is assumed, they need to no be seen as a problem – to become a utility…that is how they must be seen – as something to plug into and just work. Of course integration is about more than just the ESB – the connected applications must also be available and so the ESB layer must also be able to tolerate application and other failures well. In IBM solutions we are seeing this extension of always-on availability to include files moving through the ESB layer with the WebSphere MQ File Transfer Edition. This boosts the enterprise nature of the ESB solution, and the ability to exist in a Cloud or cluster environment where needed by the business is also a strong choice factor.

Second question = about second generation ESB projects for quick ROI. This is when an initial investment has been made in an ESB and subsequent integration projects in the business want to leverage this. Of course ideally project selection, from the first step would have been done based on business benefit – addressing the key needs first. A study like an SOA Healthcheck would be a good way to do this. However in terms of picking second projects, anything that reuses some of the investment already made would be a good idea. Once assets are available as services through an ESB they become reusable. This any other part of the business that needs them should be able to reuse them as a part of a composite application, accelerating deployment, reducing cost and boosting ROI. This may drive the selection of projects to enable greater reuse, driving ROI.

Finally how to accelerate design to deployment, with widgets, tooling and automation? This is a pretty broad topic to cover – one of the simpler answers would be that for some requirements, customers could deploy our SOA appliance – WebSphere DataPower XI50 as an ESB – this is exceptionally fast to deploy, simplify needing to be plugged in and configured. However other options, to be used with other ESBs, or with the appliance, would include using WebSphere Transformation Extender which can accelerate tricky integration deployments, including by using Industry packs to address key needs. These, and the best practices we can recommend can all really speed your deployment, again increasing ROI.

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Attending the Gartner SOA/ADI event in London

June 29, 2009

It was nice to get out of the office/home office routine last week to visit the Gartner SOA/ADI conference – this was the second year I have been to this show and it is always worthwhile. The event seemed to be very busy with the keynote sessions pretty full and some very interested customers from all over Europe and beyond attending to listen to the sessions and also talk to the vendors attending – of whom IBM was one – as a premier sponsor. At pretty much the start of the event there was a vendor panel from the premier sponsors who participated in a quickfire session to review their thoughts regarding a number of Gartner predictions for the future – there was broad agreement with many of the thoughts, although there was a level of scepticism regarding whether the scale of uptake for some of the technologies would be as high as was contended. The state of the economy was judged to be a likely factor in IT change decisions – which is of course to be expected.

The other Gartner sessions I attended were certainly very interesting. A theme which seemed to run through the 2 days was the coming growth in multi-enterprise B2B driven by the need for e-invoicing. And the complexity and business risk associated with this will also drive the need for strong SOA Governance. SOA Governance was one of the key starting points for companies starting SOA implementations, but by far the most common starting point was an ESB – which of course makes a lot of sense as an ESB is a great boon to business whether it is part of a larger SOA deployment or simply looking to improve connectivity.

We had a great stream of different businesses coming to the IBM stand in the Vendor showcase. Due to the focus of the show, all were highly knowledgable about middleware and many were already WebSphere customers, involved in projects, either at early stages or deploying. I had a number of discussions with almost everyone about whether they use FTP as a part of their existing infrastructure, and whether the new WMQ File Transfer Edition product could be of benefit to them – we got some encouraging interest.

Also a popular discussion topic was our WebSphere DataPower appliances – they of course have many uses throughout the enterprise and I had involved discussions about what benefits they provided depending on the type of deployment and where they were being used. And finally an interesting topic for discussion was the brand new WebSphere Cloudburst appliance – there is huge interest in Cloud and this seems a very timely and innovative solution for customers. Hopefully next time we will have a box on display!

ESBs and common industry issues

June 19, 2009

One of my key tasks this year is to take a look at our Smart SOA Connectivity & Integration marketing from an Industry perspective. Something I have been keen to do for a number of years to ensure that our sales reps can always provide the best and most relevent information to our clients about the solutions we have on offer. To start to do this I have been looking at some of the hundreds of references and case studies of IBM clients using our offerings – specifically for now those references that include WebSphere MQ, WebSphere Message Broker, WebSphere ESB and WebSphere DataPower.

Now you can easily review some of the references – or as they are described on the IBM website – Success Stories – for yourself, but as I have been going through them, industry by industry, some common themes seem to be jumping out.  I have to say that one of the most common motivators for our clients choosing to deploy solutions that include ESB Messaging and Enrichment is the need to be able to quickly add new or change existing offerings to rapidly address new market opportunities.

This makes a lot of sense to me – there seems to be a tremendous amount of evidence that without selecting messaging and ESB solutions for Connectivity, then infrastructure becomes highly complex, slow to change and costly to maintain. None of these results are good for businesses looking to save money, and respond quickly to changes. It follows then that a key reason to implement WebSphere solutions for ESB and Messaging Enrichment will be to address these – and a good business case to justify funding will be a new business opportunity to require these changes.

In many customer engagements in the current economic climate we are seeing it become harder for clients to justify any expense – maybe we should get them to discuss this problem with some of the UK Members of Parliament? 🙂 But on a more serious note, with businesses feeling the pinch they need to have clear justification that the costs associated with acquiring and deploying IBM solutions will deliver the expected return, and thus a demonstration that other similar problems have been soloed – and that IBM has the skills required to assist can be a major assistance to making that business case. It also helps that WebSphere MQ itself has a fairly strong cost justification anyway as opposed to hand-crafted point-to-point interfaces or standard FTP. You can read more about this cost justification and the risks of not using WebSphere MQ at this link.

Next week I hope to write another entry looking at some of the industry content in more detail – but it is friday night now, so that will do for this entry.