Wednesday, April 21, 2010

OpenESB under Oracle

It's been a few months since Oracle acquired Sun. At the time there were a lot of questions about what Oracle would do with OpenESB. On Feb 15, I posted a plan to the users mailing list. What was the plan? And how is the plan coming together? How is OpenESB doing a few months after the acquisition? What will the future hold for OpenESB?

First, let's try to understand Oracle's perspective. Oracle already has an integration product: the SOA Suite. Through the BEA acquisition it got another one, and through the Sun acquisition it got yet two more: CAPS and OpenESB. Of course there's no sense in keeping high levels of investments in all these products; it makes much more sense to focus on one product. What is this strategic product? Oracle is very clear about that: Oracle's strategic SOA middleware platform is the Oracle SOA Suite. Consequently, Oracle has reduced the level of investment in OpenESB.

That was the bad news. Now for the good news. Oracle could have just pulled out from OpenESB and let it fall into a black hole. Or worse, it could have taken the site down, removed the downloads, or put other obstacles in place. It did not. It did quite the contrary.

Although Sun was the main sponsor behind OpenESB, Oracle recognized that a lot of  people made investments into OpenESB, either in the community or into their own company by using OpenESB, and with a feeling of responsibility and fairness, Oracle decided to help the community to find a way to stand on its own, so that all these investments would bear fruit for as long a time as possible.

Did you invest in OpenESB? Let's look at what will change for you depending on the kind of investment you made.

What will change for you

What will change for you if you bought GlassFish ESB support? Nothing will change: you are still fully supported. The same Sun SOA Support department is still available to help on issues. Should patches be created to address issues, the full Sun SOA Sustaining department is still there to create patches.

Are you using GlassFish ESB but did not buy support? Unlike Sun, Oracle is no longer trying to sell GlassFish ESB licenses to new customers. Instead, you may rely on community support, or commercial support provided by one of the OpenESB community partners. The user mailing list is nowadays less frequented by Sun/Oracle engineers, but other community members have stepped up and are keeping the mailing list responsive. More about that below.

Are you investing in OpenESB by contributing code or other artifacts, or are considering to do so? You will find that it has become easier to contribute. I've put together a new governance document that gives greater freedom to community contributors. Oracle can still exert influence, but that is intended to keep the peace in the community should that be necessary. Overall, you will find it easier to propose and implement new changes, to commit code, and last but not least, to influence the roadmap. This brings us to the future of OpenESB.

The future of OpenESB

The future of OpenESB revolves around OpenESB becoming an open source community that can stand on its own, i.e. without Sun or Oracle as the single major sponsor. That transformation will of course not happen overnight, and Oracle is committed to help with this transformation. For instance, Oracle will do periodic builds and post these on the downloads site. Another commitment is that Oracle will merge patches that it makes for customers, back into the open source repository.

What did Oracle do so far? Next to the governance document I already mentioned, the sources of GlassFish ESB v2.2 can now be found in the open source repository. The HL7 BC and the WLM SE are also back in the open source repository, and the binaries can be downloaded from the downloads page. The process of an automatic periodic build has incurred some delays due to technical issues, but is well on its way.

OpenESB today

How is OpenESB doing today? Let's look at the users mailing list. From the Users mailing list on Markmail, it can be seen that the list activity has declined a bit, but is not much below the activity of that of a year ago.


What we also can learn from Markmail is that community members who are not on the Oracle payroll are stepping up. For example, here are the most active posters for March:


Another metric that we can look at is the number of users. In GlassFish ESB v2.1 we introduced a feature in which NetBeans checks for updates upon startup. By looking at the traffic to the updates-server, we can estimate how many users there are of GlassFish ESB. I defined the number of users as the number of NetBeans installations that ping the server at least three times in a time window greater than five days. As can be seen, the number of users is going up.


In terms of a roadmap there are no concrete proposals from the community yet, but several members have expressed interest in continuing with Fuji.

More good news: a few new committers have joined the project and are contributing code.


Kevin Farnham said...

Thanks for providing us with this update. I'm highlighting this post on the front page of for the benefit of the OpenESB community.

Paul Peters said...

Great post, very hopeful and a natural course of events. Couple of questions though.. What about JavaCAPS ? And how about GlassFish ESB 3.1 ?

pilgr said...

I have translated this article on russian. It's available on my blog.

Do you known, how many users GlassFish ESB from Russia or Ukraine? In percent.


Вольный перевод этой записи на русском языке доступен по этому адресу.

Frank Kieviet said...

Re Paul Peters:

About JavaCAPS: the SOA Suite is the strategic product, so the level of investment of JavaCAPS is gradually reduced. This reduction is much more gradual than with OpenESB. CAPS customers have nothing to worry about: CAPS will be supported for a long time to come (see Oracle web site for dates), and you can be sure that a migration to the SOA Suite will be researched and worked on extensively.

About GlassFish ESB 3.1: there are no plans for that at the moment. My hope is that a plan for that will be created in the community.

Frank Kieviet said...

Re pilgr:

Thanks for translating. I would definitely not be able to do that! ;)

I don't have any numbers for adoption at different geos. But I did take a look at web site visits to the OpenESB web site as gathered in Google Analytics. Russia accounts for 2.5% and Ukraine for 0.6%. Website traffic of course may not be a good metric for usage, but perhaps it gives a rough idea. For comparison: India is 6.7% and the US is 25%.

Alessandro Oliveira said...

I'm new to ESB midleware, new to GlassFish, but have been working with jboss since version 3.x. I've fed up with JBoss management, they are not transparent and lazy at contributing fixes to the community version.

Then I was looking for other open source initiatives, and found GlassFish V3 a great midleware, still full of bugs, but it seems that 3.0.1 is being cooked very nicely.

Now I'm studying SOA very hard and found out I'll need a opensource ESB midleware to play with. I hope OpenESB could fill my needs, but it feels that fuji is a dying project, I tried out some builds, but most of them doesn't even boot.

Sincerely I hope I'll have time to spend on OpenESB mailing lists, and contribute some way.

Good luck for everybody in OpenESB Bus !!!


Frank Kieviet said...

Re Alessandro:

About Fuji: there are no plans for picking up that effort on the Oracle side, and none in the community at the moment. My hope is still that a plan for that will be created in the community though.

John said...

Hello - on the Fuji front - it seems like the project was so close to completion, it's a real shame not to finish it off. I haven't got millions of hours to spare, but I'd like to help out in any way I could - coding/testing/etc - so what do I do to get involved?

Frank Kieviet said...

Re John:

You're welcome to get involved in Fuji. There are no concrete plans from anybody (at least as far as I know) to bring out the next milestone, but perhaps you can be the driver behind that. All you need to do to get started is to start a conversation on the email list on your plans/proposals. To commit code, follow the process as outlined on the OpenESB web site.


Anonymous said...

we are using JCAPS JBI 6.2 and are facing massive issues. The product is very unstable. After 2-3 days suddenly components stop working and then after redeploying they work. Latest issue is with the BPEL Engine...when invoking the EJB webservice we are loosing messages because of 'BPJBI-6004: caught exception while processing message'

Now with Oracle in the game, no great hopes. Any one faced this issue.

Frank Kieviet said...

Re Anonymous on CAPS 6.2/JBI:

I'm sorry you're experiencing problems with CAPS. What you should do is bring up these issues with Support ASAP. As I mentioned in my blog, nothing has changed with respect to Product Support: the whole team is still there to help you with the problems you're experiencing.

pbyhre said...

I think one thing that would really help OpenESB is if it could seamlessly integrate with JBoss and other app servers. We are just starting to look at this because we don't think Oracle is going to keep many of the enterprise level bells and whistles in Glassfish.

The docs on getting OpenESB running in JBoss are spotty and old.

Anonymous said...

I'm starting a project that consider to use OpenESB, now I read your comments about this product, do you think that, today is better to resing using OpenESB and look for other options?

Anonymous said...

I recently starting owrking on Java again after getting fed up with the 'other' development tools out there. I started using GlassFish and immediately just got on with the product. I also downloaded OpenESB and would love to use it in my work.

I can understand Oracle has got a set of Applications/Servers and so on that they want to focus on but I think they are being a little foolish in reducing the investment in such a great technology. Anyway I would love to contribute to further development of the OpenESB project. I might not be a expert at this yet but I intend to be.

Where do I sign up?

This is how liberty dies.. said...

so difficult to connect the dots..

The.Contrarian said...

Huh? In what way is liberty impaired by the community members who can be bothered to do so taking things into their own hands? If you want to do something different, you should get involved rather than sitting bitterly throwing rocks from the sidelines. Put up or shut up.

mindless sheep said...

isn't that what "This is how liberty dies.." refers to? That within a community of several hundreds of people two individuals pop up, speak out and act in name of the community, while they are just in it for their own agenda. That may be the liberty offered by OSS, but it surely is not liberty for the remaining other participants of the community nor the small number of end users.
Get involved where? Your comment just seems to add to the idea it's a hostile take-over covered with some smiles. Cheap way to get yourself some enterprise software indeed..

The.Contrarian said...

And just who would those two people be? Your statements appear to be driven by what you want to believe rather than what the evidence dictates.

Asking around there seem to be at least 20 differently-affiliated people involved, all of whom bothered to travel to a no-charge, open event in Brussels because they had enough interest in their own future to act rather than whine. Seems you are outsider here by choice, not by the actions of others.

mindless sheep said...

are you sure you aren't projecting your own wants onto someone else's arguments because it doesn't fit your own agenda? The thing is that your bold and sturdy statements do not fit reality eventhough you refer to it as evidence. Isn't it a little pathetic of taking such an aggressive stance without coming up with real arguments? Look a little deeper and you may find out to what extend you're talking from between your butt cheeks, but probably you just don't have the braincells required to connect more than one dot as "This is how liberty dies.." refers to. Have a good one.

The.Contrarian said...

Pretty sure, yes. And given you ignored my question and my points, I'm guessing you are flat out of answers and only have ad hominems left. Might be worth spending some time checking your motives and the purpose of your bitterness.

mindless sheep said...

Sure you do. Odd how some people accuse others of the very same thing they are doing.. Why should I not be aware of any underlying motives? You are acting as if such self-awareness involves some deep revelation. Well, it does not, it is a mere localized and focussed mix of experience and some insider knowledge.
You ignore the statements and questions put forward, and now i have to make a big a case out of questions where the answers are more like accusations so that you again can state that it is bitter and whining. Most of the participants on the summit were in fact previously affiliated, and most of these are still working together. Also, apart from a small number of participants most came from within a 300 mile radius. If they are not affiliated because of their previous Sun partnerships or employment, then they should at least be because of the sharing of business within such a small geographical spot.
At any rate, trying to convince someone whose mind is already made up is a waste of anyone's time. Open Source is a business model, not an ethical framework, but it does tend to have semi-religious treats. It is both intruiging and sad to see engineers giving the benefit of the doubt to sales people just because they are involved with Open Source and not doing a background check.

"Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and consciencious stupidity."
-Martin Luther King

The.Contrarian said...

You're right, your closed mind makes this a waste of time. I'll leave you to wallow in your misperceptions.

Prabhu Pathak said...

Hello All,
LogiCoy is organizing second OpenESB summit at California. Please register and help the community.
The registration links are provided here:

Rahul said...

Hello All,

The Free OpenESB Summit Los Angeles is May 9th, 10th

If you have not yet registered, please do so in the next couple of days.


The Proposed Agenda:
- OpenESB Community introduction
- OpenESB Monitoring and Managament tools
- Breloque, SOA Governance for OpenESB (and beyond).
- Implementing services versioning on OpenESB/GlassFish with Breloque
- OpenESB transaction Consistency and guarantee of delivery
- OpenESB in a cluster
- OpenESB and Glassfish Infrastructure build out, deployment tools
- OpenESB v2.3, and future Roadmap discussion

- ....

Thank You All on behalf of Logicoy Inc.