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Red Hat and JBI 2.0

Posted by marklittle May 17, 2007
There was a lot of hype around JBI 1.0 at JavaOne 2005. It was going to unify the ESB world and push JEE technology to the EAI masses. However, both IBM and BEA had exited stage left before the party even begans, citing the lack of need for such a technology, leaving only Sonic and TIBCO as the main supporters. Since then we've seen only a couple of commercial implementations and two open source implementations. Given its original hype, JBI has been slightly disappointing. Then along comes SCA with what some perceive as overlap in the JBI+JEE space and many people are already nailing the coffin shut on JBI. However, as far as we are concerned, JBI isn't dead. It's just been pining for the fjords. What it really needed was an injection of EJB3-magic and who better to help do that than us? Plus, we don't see this as a JBI versus SCA debate. Both have their proponents and that's why we're involved with them. We see JBI as a great platform on which to deploy SCA, if that's the way you want to go with your SOA solutions. But just as you don't need JBI to support SCA, neither do you have to be driven to SCA if all you want is JBI.


With that in mind it may explain why we've been discussing a successor to JBI with Sun for over a year, cunningly named JBI 2.0. As you can see, there are a lot of companies associated with the effort. The things we're going to look at include:

  • Alignment with SCA.
  • Performance optimisations (e.g., it doesn't always make sense to normalize your messages).
  • Be clearer about where transactions, security etc. play in a JBI environment.
  • Explicitly address distributed JBI.
  • Leveraging OSGi where it makes sense.


As part of JavaOne 2007, Sun had a JBI 2.0 evening of BOFs, covering developer and user feedback on JBI 1.0 as well as a one targeted specifically at what users expect from JBI 2.0. That one was driven by Red Hat and was very well attended. The audience was very receptive to the initial discussion, which was meant to fuel the debate. Everyone seemed to agree that JBI 2.0 should become the standards-based deployment platform for ESB/SOA. There were few people interested in deploying to SCA, but it was "on the radar" as something they may need in conjunction with JBI. Plus, versioning of services is critical. This is interesting, because we've been saying the same thing since JBossESB started. It's good to see everyone else agreeing with us. The general conclusion from the entire JBI evening was that JBI 2.0 is needed and will be an important addition to the JEE platform. Both user and developer communities want to see more adoption. With any luck, 2008 will be the year of JBI (at long last!)

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