In-Depth

ESB requires a whole new style

The major challenge in moving to ESBs is to change the existing programming paradigm. In addition to training programmers how to use the tools for ESBs, organizations must demonstrate the benefits of changing the way they deploy programs and manage them.

“My sense is that the success with these projects is similar to the success rate of any application development project,” says Roy Schulte, an analyst with Gartner. “The hard part is not the ESB. The challenge is switching to service-oriented architecture. The whole idea of business components is not new. But that doesn’t mean mainstream developers were doing it. For ESBs to become successful in the mainstream, you have to get the applications developers and the architects to start using it.

“The biggest challenge is one of converting and changing the development style of application developers. There is a lot of inertia. Why would they want to make an application out of 100 business components instead of 10 big applications?”

Wisconsin’s ESB deployment has been straightforward with the exception of some legacy integration challenges the state eventually ironed out, says Werner Gade, section chief for enterprise infrastructure with the state. The hardest part has been getting more programmers to adopt an SOA programming strategy for the ESB.

“Educating people has not been as easy as it sounds,” Gade says. “The challenge we run into is getting people to believe it is easy and show them it works. We have had a slow adoption rate, mostly because it is a new way of implementing a concept.

“We are trying to do extensive education and communication with the units that it is as easy as it sounds. We are trying to communicate to them that rather than architect an application as they have always done, they should look at how an application could be made to deliver a service of benefit to everyone,” Gade adds. “We tried to include not just the technical folks, but other people in the agencies to get their support.”

About the Author

George Lawton is a freelance writer in Brisbane, Calif.

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