Tuesday, 28 October 2008

ESB vs OESB vs ALSB vs OSB vs, um....

Given Oracle's BEA acquisition earlier this year, and various announcements by Oracle around the middleware stack including their 2008 July 1st announcements and various reinforcements at OOW08, there's a lot to learn and keep track of.

(And I thought Christmas was to be a quiet period this year)

I'm currently investigating Oracle's movements in the Oracle Enterprise Service Bus arena, and following my research I thought I'd share my findings for others to use. I'm sure to anyone in the ESB and SOA arenas this is all immediately obvious, but to an outsider looking in there's a lot of information to digest.

Warning: you're mileage may vary on the following information. I'm not an ESB or SOA expert in anyway, thus my research. Please take time to confirm these facts. I'd appreciate if you find
a glaring hole in my understanding that you post a comment so other readers aren't mislead.


  • Oracle's traditional Enterprise Service Bus is known as ESB or OESB. On the internet the concept of an Enterprise Service Bus is a rather generic and loosely used term. For Oracle's offerings I'll refer to it as ESB or classic ESB here on.

  • I haven't been able to determine if it was possible to buy ESB by itself, or it only came as part of the SOA 10g suite; it would seem conceivable to me you might want ESB without the SOA wrappings. ESB is not currently listed on the Oracle Australia Shop

  • Checking Oracle's website 23/Oct/08, the Oracle site at times referred to ESB as OSB, a confusion with the future OSB->ALSB platform name (see below). I assume this was a transitional marketing misnomer and to be ignored. However as of 27/Oct/08 given the OSB->ALSB 100-day-release (again see below), the ESB website link has gone, for reference existed here and the Google cached page here,

  • From a conversation with another Oracle ACE Director, my understanding is the classic ESB was not heavily used by the SOA 10g Suite; BPEL could exist mostly without. I guess this implies classic ESB was more of an option in the 10g release which you could make use of.

  • The primary interface for working and configuring ESB is JDeveloper 10g.

  • Within the future FMW 11g platform as part of SOA, classic ESB is mostly removed with a part remaining known as "Mediator", purely remaining for the SOA suite. Mediator within SOA ties existing EDN (Event Delivery Network) and SCA services together.

  • Speculation: it seems odd that Oracle has kept a part of ESB for their future platform, given the adoption of OSB/ALSB (see below). Maybe Oracle considered dropping ESB completely for the upcoming FMW 11g release, but Oracle decided this target was too ambitious for the 2009 deadline? The logical conclusion is ESB will be totally dropped in the future, possibly by FMW 11gR2?


  • Upon Oracle's acquisition of BEA they obtained BEA's SOA suite known as Aqualogic. Aqualogic like Oracle's own SOA suite included an Enterprise Service Bus platform known as Aqualogic Service Bus. An internet search reveals the commonly used acronym ALSB.

  • ALSB has been re-badged by Oracle as Oracle Service Bus (OSB), and should not be confused with the classic ESB/OESB offerings from Oracle.

  • The latest version of ALSB v3.0 was certified against BEA WebLogic Server v10, not 10.3 (source - see pre BEA acquisitions section).

  • A significant difference for Oracle customers between classic ESB and ALSB is the missing JCA Adapters. Classic ESB included a range of adapters for connecting ESB to different sources and destinations, the most important being for Oracle customers the Oracle database.
  • OSB will mostly replace classic ESB in FMW 11g and the SOA Suite, except for the classic ESB "Mediator" component.

  • OSB is considered to be a more sophisticated product than classic ESB. The recently published OSB statement of direction from Oracle infers that they were written for different markets, but given that ESB has nearly been removed this would imply that classic ESB is inferior.

  • The current OSB release as of 27/Oct/2008 as blogged by Chuck Speaks most importantly includes a framework for JCA Adapters which was missing from the original ALSB platform (see the ALSB vs OSB section above that discusses the JCA Adapters for more information). Note it's a "framework" allowing for JCA Adapters, not the actual adapters themselves. I've been told that Oracle plans to release a range of JCA Adapters in January 2009 including those for the Oracle database. I'm unsure if that is a "hard-date" from Oracle or an unconfirmed fact; be careful to base any future OSB adoption plans on the date published in this blog. This conclusion seems to be supported by this OTN forum post.

  • Somebody mentioned to me OSB (and ALSB) support raw JDBC calls to a database, though I believe read-only at this time, and I haven't found a reference to this in the documentation. Otherwise I also believe its supports EJB v2.1; of not significant benefit because of the complexity of anything EJB prior to v3.

  • The OSB release is certified against WLS 10.3 as per the following OTN post (thanks to Eddie and Mark for their assistance on confirming that fact).

  • Currently OSB allows the user to configure it via the WLS console or an Eclipse add-on. Future support will be added to JDeveloper, conceivably for the FMW 11g Bulldog release in 2009.

  • At the time of writing, the licensing options for OSB via Oracle Shop Australia are AU$24, Processor Perpetual, or AU$480.00 Named User Plus Perpetual.
Sources of information and references

AMIS: http://technology.amis.nl/blog/3566/the-amis-team-reports-from-oracle-open-world-big-and-small-announcements-guidance-and-tips#more-3566 (see slide 19)

Oracle OSB website: http://www.oracle.com/technology/products/integration/service-bus/index.html

Oracle OSB statement of direction (SOD): http://www.oracle.com/technology/products/integration/service-bus/docs/Oracle-Service-Bus-SOD.pdf

Note the SOD mentions migration paths for existing ESB and ALSB customers that may be of interest to some readers.

Thanks to....

My thanks for assistance with the above summary to Lucas Jellema and Peter Ebell from AMIS, and Eddie Ho at Oracle Australia. Please note any facts above that are wrong or misleading are 99% probable my fault and in should in no way be attributed to these folks.

1 comment:

Eddie said...

Hi Chris,
You can find documentation on how to read database rows on OSB at http://download.oracle.com/docs/cd/E13159_01/osb/docs10gr3/userguide/modelingmessageflow.html#wp1101324 . Basically, it's XQuery function using JDBC data source.

Regarding the JCA adapters, Oracle will certify 7 common adapters for OSB initially:
1) database
2) Oracle AQ
3) E-Business Suite
4) Siebel
5) JD Edwards
6) Peoplesoft
7) SAP

Additional adapters will be certified afterward. We want to finish this certification by January/February 2009. There is no hard date so to speak as typical for IT projects. So expect to see a typical project delay. If you have any specific project need, please talk to your Oracle representative.