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Sonic Strengthens ESB-based SOA Infrastructure

Sonic Software was one of the first to market with an enterprise service bus (ESB) product. Now the company is nicely positioned to take advantage of that early lead, as more and more companies move to adopt initiatives around Web services and service-oriented architectures (SOAs), with their promises of lower costs and non-proprietary solutions.

Sonic extended its ESB-based SOA infrastructure with two new products: the Sonic Collaboration Server, for managing partner interactions, and the Sonic Database Service, for simpler access and reuse of relational data sources.

According to Shawn Willett, a principal analyst with Current Analysis in Sterling, Virginia, neither of the products is revolutionary, but both serve to round out Sonic's offerings.

As one of the first movers with an ESB product several years ago, Willet says, Sonic has bragging rights to the term and is now well positioned to take advantage of that. "This is a good time for [Sonic]," Willett says, "because we're at the point where Web services are all over the place." Companies are moving forward with strategic initiatives for implementing service-oriented architectures, he says, and Sonic can work hand in hand with that.

The company is also introducing Sonic SOA Suite 6.1 as a bundled product that includes four modules: Sonic ESB, Sonic Orchestration Server, Sonic XML Server and the new Sonic Database Service. Among other things, the company says that enhancements in the 6.1 release increase SOA development productivity with a new uniform service invocation model. That allows services of any type, from Web services to databases, to be incorporated into the ESB with relative ease.

Industry analysts are generally positive about the usefulness of ESBs for helping companies make use of SOAs and Web services. Forrester research director and VP Mike Gilpin has defined ESBs as "software infrastructure that enables service-oriented architecture by acting as an intermediary layer of middleware through which a set of reusable business services are made widely available." According to Gilpin, "An ESB helps enterprises obtain the value of SOA by increasing connectivity, adding flexibility that speeds change, and providing greater control over use of the important resources it binds."

Gartner Inc., for its part, has predicted that an ESB infrastructure will be running in the majority of enterprises by 2005.

About the Author

Linda Briggs is a freelance writer based in San Diego, Calif. She can be reached at lbriggs@lindabriggs.com.

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