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PROS AND CONS OF OPEN SOURCE

Plenty of companies incorporate open source into parts of their software infrastructure. Used in the proper context, open source provides business value.

But, open source is not a panacea. Benefits must outweigh the risks—and those risks are great when the project is the integration middleware on which you'll base your organization's success—including its customer interactions, business processes, services, and decisions.

While the easy access and seemingly low upfront costs of an open source ESB (OSS ESB) may be attractive, the costs for maintaining or changing systems can be exorbitant. Just when you need to scale or enable a new type of integration to meet growing needs is a bad time to find out about increased costs, delays, or needed change. This is the biggest “gotcha" with open-source integration software.

Misconceptions about open-source ESB platforms abound. See the top four myths below so you can avoid taking on bottom-line risk.

MYTHS ABOUT OPEN SOURCE ESB

Myth # 1—Open Source ESB Software Is Free

It's not free from companies that are trying to build a business around open source. You'll pay for services, support—and as your business grows—for costly value-added features that will become necessary to meet SLA requirements. Instead of “free," look for a solution that offers low Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

Myth #2—Open Source ESB Communities Innovate Faster

Many open source projects have large user communities, but the source is generally controlled by a small number of contributors. In addition, if the open source business model being leveraged is proposing added value on top of the community version, then the source is controlled by the vendor just like any other commercial offering.

Myth #3—Access to Source Allows Reviewing Code and Deploying Safely

Well, maybe. How do you know there aren't IP issues in the code, like in the Novell/SCO UNIX case? Will your vendor indemnify you against lawsuits? Even if it does, will that protect you? IP issues aside, source reviews don't help you assess security, scalability, interoperability, or other important architectural features. By its very nature, open source is also less controlled in deployment and patch management.

Myth #4—Open Source and SaaS Work Well Together

Cloud-based open-source ESBs work just like other SaaS applications: you typically don't have access to the code. How well will it connect your on-premise applications with other SaaS services? You can't know.

CONSIDERATIONS FOR ADOPTING AN OPEN SOURCE INTEGRATION PLATFORM

To ensure the integration platform you choose does not restrict you or end up costing more than it should, ask yourself:

How important is it that mission-critical applications running in production environments are fully supported by the software vendor? Is all the vendor's software fully supported, and with the same SLAs?
Is it important that the vendor have control and clear ownership of its core software IP? Are any of its core integration capabilities (data mapping, messaging, service orchestration) developed using third-party code?
What proof is there that the integration platform is flexible and capable enough to cost effectively scale to meet the growing complexity of your business?
How does the vendor support concurrent messaging models required for integrating mixed application environments (JMS, web sockets, low latency, etc.)?
Can the integration platform provide choreography with coordinated interactions between two or more services? How easy is it to invoke several services or systems in the same choreography?
Can you simplify choreography easily by adding conditional logic between services?
Will you be able to tap into the real-time data flowing through your integration platform? Can you analyze streaming data and correlate multiple events to spot trends and take action?
Exactly what is involved to enable scaling the integration platform for web scale?
Are you willing to go with any vendor that has raised millions of private capital over a decade without becoming profitable? What is the long term viability of their business model?

AN ALTERNATIVE TO OPEN SOURCE ESB

Go with Proven

You owe it to yourself and your organization to go beyond “good enough" and secure integration capabilities that deliver low TCO and high returns. Using a proven platform that is the foundation of thousands of the world's most advanced integration architectures supplies:

One environment that scales from the simplest integration use cases, all the way up to tens of thousands of integration points, connected to any data source, running at web-scale and real time
Faster development using a no-code graphical model-driven design and a high level of choreography that ensures a short time to results
Commitment to industry standards and an architectural design that ensures your investment is protected well into the future, in spite of the inevitable changes in application design

TIBCO ActiveMatrix BusinessWorks

TIBCO's leading integration platform allows organizations to create and orchestrate services and capture and publish events from internal or external applications and technologies. Developers can rapidly develop and graphically test integration processes in a no-code, Eclipse-based IDE. These processes are then deployed in a reliable, highly available, and scalable architecture.