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Cape Clear officially joins ESB party

Never underestimate the power of a name -- or in this case, a category. Now that the enterprise service bus (ESB) has been officially identified by IT industry watchers, life is a little easier for companies like Cape Clear Software.

'Our products have always been based on ESB,' Cape Clear co-founder David Clark told eADT over lunch in Palo Alto recently, 'but we've had to spend a lot of time explaining ourselves to our customers. Now that [industry analysts at] Gartner have put us in the ESB category, we've got something to hang our hat on.'

Gartner Inc. has defined ESB as 'a new architecture that exploits Web services, messaging middleware, intelligent routing and transformation.' ESBs act as a lightweight, ubiquitous integration backbone through which software services and application components flow. Gartner has predicted that an ESB infrastructure will be running in the majority of enterprises by 2005.

Cape Clear sees ESB as a new architecture that 'draws on the disciplines of Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) and the power of Web services to radically change the technology and economics of integration projects.'

'ESB is an evolutionary step along the way toward the service-oriented architecture,' Clark said. 'And we see Web services as central to that evolution. Web services inherently help you to work toward SOA by encouraging a certain kind of discipline.'

The five-year-old, Dublin, Ireland-based company provides a range of application integration products based on an ESB. The latest version of its flagship product, Cape Clear 5, which began shipping last week, is designed to simplify the integration of applications and data (SOA) and Web services. Version 5 introduces multi-protocol routing and messaging, sophisticated data integration tools, extended support for building and scripting SOA and Web services, advanced enterprise management, BPEL-based composition and routing, and support for sophisticated security mechanisms, including digital signatures.

'Companies are increasingly investing in the technology required to build an SOA-driven environment, from tools that service-enable applications to the services infrastructure layer components critical for delivering sophisticated solutions like composite applications,' said Tom Rhinelander, analyst with New Rowley Group, in a statement. 'With Cape Clear 5, companies that were originally attracted to Cape Clear because of its easy-to-use and inexpensive Web service enablement tools can now look to the vendor for a much broader range of SOA solutions, such as data integration tools and the messaging and workflow offerings needed for composite applications.'

Cape Clear 5 includes four integrated products:

  • Cape Clear Studio, which provides a graphical environment for designing and developing integrated services. 
  • Cape Clear Server, a Web services-based ESB for integrating applications. 
  • Cape Clear Data Interchange, which is designed to simplify the integration of diverse data sources. 
  • Cape Clear Manager, which includes tools for managing and securing deployed Web services and integrations.

'Traditionally, the business potential of integration has been easy to sell, but hard to deliver,' Clarke said. 'Integration has always suffered from 'over' syndrome: It's been over-budget, over-time and over-promised, with all the risks kindly underwritten by the customer. The ESB changes the rules. Using the ESB, it takes only days to get integration projects up and running, it supports the technology you already have, and it enables you to deliver new services to your customers and partners using open standards. Now, the delivery is every bit as compelling as the sale.'

Cape Clear was founded in late 1999 by a team of former Iona Technologies executives (another Dublin-based middleware company) and has been in operation since 2000.

More information on Cape Clear 5 is available at: http://www.capeclear.com/products. (The site is also rife with whitepapers and information on SOA, Web services and ESBs.)

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at john@watersworks.com.

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