Future of ESB

2013-11-14

ESB stands for Enterprise Service Bus. For those of you who might not be very fluent with technical jargon, the concept of ESB can be understood in terms of a translator. ESB is a form of software architecture that facilitates communication between different applications. By doing this, ESB enables each system to be independent of one another and still be able to use other systems without knowledge of their internal working. Like a translator translates from one language to another, ESB communicated between different applications thereby releasing the systems from the unnecessary stress of adapting to other applications’ requirements, for any interaction.

Till now, ESB has driven many system architectures and has been of great help in terms of their integration. But with increasing demand and the building pressure on the IT industry, it is only natural that the output expected out of any system infrastructure has multiplied. The current load on ESB systems that are already in place is monumental and therefore the core needs of security and manageability are not being met.

ESB, over time, has become bulky and colossal and therefore it is fast being replaced by more manageable system architectures like SOA gateways which provide all the same services along with agility and responsiveness.

To fully comprehend the glorious futures of ESB, it is essential to start at the beginning. The point is to know what ESB does in very specific terms and then to see how these services are being performed by the alternatives currently available. Managing of business processing, acting as a connector, providing application adaptability are some of the most important functions of ESB. The reason for the fading glory of ESB lies in what was essentially its achievement in the first place. The linking of vendor database and customer database through a public cloud was why ESB was so popular. But its inability to conform and keep up with the change in cloud technologies might end up rendering it obsolete. To confirm its continuity, it must adapt to changes in the aforementioned technology and build up to meet new requirements.

What ESB is going through, is a phase that any technological development passes through. It is being taken over by more concise, lighter and better packaged alternatives. But ESB marks a clear difference in this scenario. It’s an architectural endeavor that cannot be outmoded. Therefore all it needs to do is upgrade itself. Current ESB vendors (IBM, Oracle, Microsoft, Jboss, Mulesoft etc.) can vouch for the utility of their product and they make such claims not without reason.

ESB still has a lot going for it. For starters it is agnostic to the technology platform it is working with. This means that it is more likely to adapt well to changes and can accommodate new processes of integration as and when they are developed. In recent times, ESB has found a compatible partner in API. While ESB has incorporated the throttle systems and the control of access, which was typical of an API, the API vendors have chosen key features of ESB for incorporation into their product. Hence, a prophecy of the future tells of the combination of the two to meet the exact market demands.