If your requirements are to simply manage and orchestrate web services and specifically monitor business process then it sounds like you simply need a BPEL engine which typically runs as a service in the context of an application server.
jBPM has a BPEL download that is currently in beta.
Active Endpoints also has a BPEL download as well.
An ESB can be paired with a BPEL/BPM engine as JBoss ESB 4.2 will be.
Now JBoss ESB 4.2 has several features which might be of interest such as:
- Support for WS
- BPEL engine integration with Active Endpoints
- JPDL engine integration (allows for human work-flow)
- Improved content-based routing/filtering
- Improved synchronous invocation handling
- and much more
While JBoss ESB 4.0 already had:
- Numerous transport connectors
- transformation engine
- action pipeline/chain
- automated registry
- event/message store
- static & content-based routing
- hot deployment of services
- EIPs: Splitter, Aggregator
The book Enterprise Integration Patterns identifies a number of the expectations of enterprise caliber integration-oriented middleware. While there is nothing like J2EE which defines an ESB, the EIP book is a fairly good recipe for building SOA-based middleware technology.
Does that help?
is there a feature list availble which standards, esb features, whatever is listed?
Thanks Barry. Indeed, a great answer to my questions :)