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Enterprise Application Integration - Where Is It Now (And What Is It Now)? Part 2: Where Is It Now?

Written By: Michael F. Reed
Published On: September 6 2001

Enterprise Application Integration - Where Is It Now (And What Is It Now)?

Part 2: Where Is It Now?
M. Reed - September 6, 2001

Summary

Since January 2000 when TEC last addressed the trends in Enterprise Application, there have been massive changes in the overall direction of Application Integration in general and EAI in particular.

A great many of the players have changed in the vendor arena, new terminology ("buzz-phrases" like IAI, or "Inter-Enterprise Application Integration", and "e-Business Infrastructure Enablement", or B2Bi, has arisen out of the marketing machine, and customers are generally confused as to just what vendors are offering and how it may (or may not) solve their business problem. In addition, the strong downturn in the technology economy has affected many vendors' prospects.

The definition of EAI is amorphous at best, so TEC has sought to take the broadest definition, which is as follows:

Enterprise Application Integration is any process, or series of processes, which enables business capabilities through the combination of data and business logic obtained from separate systems. Whether the data is internal, inter-divisional, customer or supplier facing is irrelevant. Vendors can give it whatever term they choose, or sub-divide it into separate applications, but to us, integration is integration. Plain and simple. IT programmers have been doing it for over 20 years.

This is a two-part note on EAI trends. Part One discussed the basic components to achieve EAI. This part covers the Market Impact of the recent changes and makes User Recommendations.

Market Impact

Data extraction tool and message-oriented middleware vendors are having to scramble to add additional functionality to their software. According to Richard Soley, chairman and CEO of the Object Management Group, "The need for enterprise application integration is nothing new. Common business problems driving the EAI market include mergers and acquisitions, supply chain integration, accessibility to legacy data, and the emergence of e-commerce and globalization. All of these factors are driving demand for an integrated enterprise."

Who were the EAI vendors in 1999?

Vendor Product
Active Software ActiveWorks Integration System
Alier EnterpriseConnect
Auxilium Info*Engine
BEA Systems WebLogic
Candle Roma
Cel Corporation Celware
Constellar Constellar Hub
CrossWorlds Software CrossWorlds integration applications
Extricity Software AllianceSeries
Iona Technologies Orbix
MITEM MitemView
New Era of Networks (NEON) Convoy
Oberon Software Business Integrator, Commerce Integrator
Saga Software Sagavista
Software Technologies (STC) e*Gate Enterprise Integration
Talarian SmartSockets
Tanit Tanit CAST, Tanit STREAM
Tempest Software Tempest Messenger System
Tibco TIB/ActiveEnterprise
TSI International Software (Mercator) Mercator E-Business Broker
Vitria Technology BusinessWare

Who are the EAI vendors in 2001?

Please note that not all vendors offer a complete solution. Most only offer pieces of the puzzle, but that is often all that a customer requires.

Vendor Product
BEA Systems WebLogic
Candle Roma
Cel Corporation Celware
Computer Associates Jasmine ii
Constellar Constellar Hub
CrossWorlds Software CrossWorlds integration applications
GXS (GE Global Exchange Services) Application Integrator
IBM MQ Series Integrator, WebSphere
Iona Technologies Orbix & Sagavista
iPlanet iPlanet Integration Server
Level 8 Systems Cicero (contact center integration)
Mercator Mercator E-Business Broker
Microsoft Commerce Server, .NET architecture
MITEM MitemView
OnDisplay Business Integrator, Commerce Integrator
Oracle 9iAS
Parametric Technology Info*Engine
Peregrine Systems AllianceSeries
SAP Web Application Server
SeeBeyond e*Gate Enterprise Integration
Sun Microsystems Java, Sun ONE
Sybase NEON Convoy
Talarian SmartSockets
Tanit Tanit CAST, Tanit STREAM
Tempest Software Tempest Messenger System
Tibco TIB/ActiveEnterprise
Vitria Technology BusinessWare
WebMethods WebMethods Integration Platform
WRQ Verastream

Where did these guys go?

Vendor Fate
Active Software Merged with webMethods
Alier Purchased by Active which was merged with webMethods
Auxilium Purchased by Parametric Technology (PTC)
Constellar No longer appears to be a player in this market
New Era of Networks (NEON) Purchased by Sybase. NEON has also recently lost a lawsuit by NEON Systems over trademark infringement. See the TEC website for further details
Oberon Software Purchased by OnDisplay
Saga Software Purchased by Software AG, which sold the Sagavista technology to IONA
Software Technologies (STC) Changed name to SeeBeyond
TSI International Software (Mercator) Changed name to Mercator, to reflect name of their flagship software product

As you can see from the tables above, the market is in a great state of flux.

User Recommendations

The most important point for prospective buyers of EAI/B2Bi technology: Do a very thorough analysis of your existing systems, where your corporation's business needs will be in the next few years, and how you intend to integrate the systems (don't forget that mapping data from one place to another is the most arduous, expensive, and time consuming part of the whole process) before you even talk to any vendor.

Many of the surviving vendors have only written pre-packaged applications for particular vertical industries (e.g., Telecom), so customers will have to investigate multiple vendors to insure there is support for their particular industry.

Customers with a need for EAI should ensure that the vendor and/or consulting firm used to build the application has a proven methodology for application integration, and check reference sites. Since the whole idea behind EAI is to integrate disparate data and technologies, the methodology should be component-based. The effort will be arduous, but the returns from an integrated information portal can be significant. Customers should try for the highest level of abstraction from the middleware to help promote reuse of components, reduce the level of coupling between applications, and reduce the amount of custom coding required in lower level languages (i.e. C or C++).

If the application is to be used over an extranet or the Internet (EAI is also sometimes referred to as IAI, or Intra-company Application Integration, when used with external customers), the product should support the Secure Sockets Layer, access control lists, and X.509 certificates. In addition, the prospective customer should ensure that the tool employs UML (Unified Modeling Language) compliant business process modeling.

Glossary

ODBC: Open Database Connectivity. A database programming interface from Microsoft that provides a common language for Windows applications to access databases on a network. ODBC is made up of the function calls programmers write into their applications and the ODBC drivers themselves.

JDBC: Java Database Connectivity. A programming interface that lets Java applications access a database via the SQL language. Since Java interpreters (Java Virtual Machines) are available for all major client platforms, this allows a platform-independent database application to be written. JDBC is the Java counterpart of Microsoft's ODBC. Java was originally developed by Sun Microsystems.

OLE DB: OLE (Object Linking and Embedding) Database. A programming interface for data access from Microsoft. It functions in a similar manner as ODBC, but for every type of data source not just SQL databases. Applications can use OLE DB to access ODBC databases as well. OLE DB for OLAP is used to access OLAP databases. OLE DB is a COM object.

COM: Component Object Model. A component software architecture from Microsoft, which defines a structure for building program routines (objects) that can be called up and executed in a Windows environment.

Native Interface: An interface written to a specific database API (Application Programming Interface) which gives access to all of the features provided by the database vendor. It is typically more robust and faster than using ODBC, JDBC, or OLE DB (which are database translation interfaces.)

Database Gateway: A product that provides a connection to a database through a proprietary interface. Typically gateways make the database being connected to "look" like the gateway vendor's database (e.g.., Oracle's gateway to IBM DB2 makes DB2 look like an Oracle database). Database gateways translate SQL calls into a standard format known as Format and Protocol (FAP). One of the most popular gateway architectures is IBM's Distributed Relational Database Access (DRDA).

CORBA: Common Object Request Broker Architecture. A standard from the Object Management Group (OMG) for communicating between distributed objects (objects are self-contained software modules). CORBA provides a way to execute programs (objects) written in different programming languages running on different platforms no matter where they reside in the network. CORBA is suited for three-tier (or more) client/server applications, where processing occurring in one computer requires processing to be performed in another. CORBA is often described as an "object bus" or "software bus," because it is a software-based communications interface through which objects are located and accessed.

Business Intelligence Portal: A corporate portal that enables users to query and produce reports on enterprise-wide databases. The term was coined by Information Advantage, makers of the MyEureka software, which was the first to combine BI software with a corporate portal. Information Advantage was acquired by Sterling Software, which was in turn acquired by Computer Associates.

SSL: Secure Sockets Layer. A leading security protocol on the Internet. When an SSL session is started, the browser sends its public key to the server so that the server can securely send a secret key to the browser. The browser and server exchange data via secret key encryption during that session. There are also other key technologies in this area, such as PKI and SET.

 
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