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Open Source Java ESB Moves into the Cloud

Web-based middleware maker MuleSoft yesterday unveiled a new version of its enterprise service bus (ESB), Mule ESB 3.0 Community. The new version, available now, is all about integration with the cloud, said Ross Mason, the company's founder and CTO.

"The ESB used to live in this very controlled environment," Mason said. "But with the emergence of SaaS and the Cloud and the different ways we can utilize compute power, data and even applications, people are reaching out more and more beyond the firewall. Rather than just adding more features to the existing ESB stack, this release defines a generational jump from what we should expect from ESBs today in light of these changes. "

San Francisco-based MuleSoft was founded in 2006 as MuleSource. The company's core technology, Mule, is a light-weight ESB and integration framework for Java developed in 2003 by Mason. Mule is based on messaging platforms that can be used as an ESB. Its project's name comes from Mason's frustration over integration “donkey work.” The Mule ESB is designed to allow developers to quickly and easily connect applications together and in the cloud using SOA principles, Mason said.

A big focus of this release is Mule Cloud Connect, the company's platform for integrating with SaaS and cloud-based Web applications. The company has added "cloud connectors," which Mason describes as out-of-the-box connectors for popular cloud, SaaS, and Web 2.0 providers, including Amazon Web Services, Salesforce.com, and Facebook, among others. "It's an easy way for users to create their own cloud connectors," Mason said.

The company also introduces native REST support in this release. The new feature is designed to allow users to publish and consume RESTful services via Mule "easily and seamlessly." And new AJAX/JavaScript integration lets developers access enterprise data directly from a browser-based application without heavyweight server-side infrastructure.

This release also offers a new way of configuring Mule that simplifies the creation of message flows. Along with this "flow-based configuration" comes a new "pattern-based configuration" feature that provides "out-of-the-box building blocks for common configuration patterns," according to Mule.

"To my mind, this focus on simplifying at every level is one of the most important features of this release," Mason said. "We focused hard on not adding things that people won't get right away or understand. We're keeping the simple things really simple, and the harder things simpler and easier. Other new features designed to simplify use include a new deployment model, "hot" deployment, a service and application isolation feature, and dynamic endpoints.

The open source Mule ESB project is currently supported by a community of more than 2,500 companies, including Nokia, Nestle, DHL, Honeywell and five of the world's top 10 banks, the company said. It's one of the most widely-used open source ESBs. Developers use it to integrate their applications by leveraging the ESBs broad support for protocol transports and application connectors, including HTTP, JMS, Web Services, JDBC, File/FTP, SAP and Salesforce.com, among others.

The new version of the MuleSoft ESB is available today for download here.

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance journalist and author based in Palo Alto, CA.

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