IBM has announced the future of their WebSphere series. Code-named 'Vela' the new version will become the foundation across all IBM server applications. Many component services will then sit on top of this new foundation.
This componentized approach sounds a little similar to some other application servers. JBoss has had services that sit on top of their JMX framework, as have others. Remember HP Bluestone and its core services framework?
The new Apache Geronimo server is also going down this route. They are going to be implementing so many JSRs when you look at all of the stacks. It looks like services that implement these JSRs will be able to strap onto the lean, mean Geronimo core.
Bob Sutor, director of WebSphere software, stated "Vela is what we consider to be the next generation of application servers and, in our particular case, it will serve as the universal foundation for the [IBM] software group's products. What [Vela] is providing on one hand is a foundation for the software group, but it is going to be part of the foundation for what we are doing with On Demand, grid, and autonomic computing as well. It will also fit in with service-oriented architectures and some things we will deliver there next year."
So hear we learn that part of this componentization is to enable the new wave of on demand utility computing. It could open up a very different mode of purchasing enterprise software. Instead of choosing a version up front: "Standard", "Enterprise", "With JMS" we could move to a model where we purchase a core framework, and then pay as we add services to that core. That could be really interesting.
IBM also think that the industry has finally worked out a way in which componentization can work. Some people thought that the advent of EJB, we would see a thriving component marketplace, where veritical enterprise components would spring up, and developers would be able to purchase a lot of functionality instead of invent it themselves. That never came to pass.
IBM thinks that the time may have come.
"A lot of the reason why componentization did not work was that the pieces were not loosely coupled enough. There were too many dependencies among the pieces, in terms of understanding how you talk to them as well as the way you connected them," Sutor said.
Although IBM is embracing the buzzwords of Service Oriented Architecture, they don't seem to big on Enterprise Service Buses.
When asked: How do EnterpriseService Buses (ESBs) factor into your thinking with SOAs and Web services?
They replied: "I think the notion of ESBs has been inflated somewhat. For many people it was just a new acronym and so it became popular."
Read IBM heads toward next generation of app servers Interview: IBM's Sutor on how SOAs fuel integration Is it really a brave new world? Is this really new, or has the wheel spun 360 degrees?