With the newest edition of its open source enterprise service bus (ESB), MuleSoft allows administrators to connect directly to data sources in addition to applications.
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"We're observing a unification of the application and data integrations spaces," among customers and potential customers, said Ken Yagen, MuleSoft vice president of products. As organizations move some of their operations to cloud services, they are looking for ways to connect to that data in a speedier fashion, he explained. "Traditional data integration approaches don't work well [with cloud environments] so they need to consider more of a real-time application integration approach."
Mule ESB 3.3, to be released Wednesday, is the first major update to the software since last October, when version 3.2 was released. Like all ESBs, the Mule ESB allows administrators to automate workflows across different applications, both on-premises and in the cloud.
The new Mule Studio DataMapper allows the user to peruse a collection of data sources and connect them to a workflow through a drag and drop interface. Prior to this version, administrators would connect data sources to Mule through a variety of ways, all of them rather painstaking, according to Yagen. They could use a third party integration tool, or write script based on XSLT (Extensible Stylesheet Language) or a Java connector.
The data mapper recognizes many common data formats, including XML, JSON, CSV, POJOs and Excel. It can scan disk drives or cloud sources for data sources and even generate profiles of the data sources using database schemas or sample data.
The ESB software comes with a number of other additions as well. This version has stronger ties to open source software development tools. It allows the open source Apache Maven build manager to coordinate activities between Mule and the Subversion and Git code repositories.
Other new features include an in-memory cache layer that can store the results of service calls, speeding the response for frequent requests. Profiles of applications can be added to the application repository through a new publishing process.
The new version also comes with additional integration patterns for error handling.
"Typically, with systems, you have to write a lot of custom code to handle errors. We provide configuration capability within the design tool to handle those orchestration flows," Yagen said.
MuleSoft is not alone in updating its ESB. This week, Red Hat also released JBoss Enterprise BRMS (Business Rules Management System) 5.3, which comes with a new user interface and works with the new Business Process Modeling Notation 2.0 (BPMN2) standard.
Mule is available in both a community open source and an enterprise version that comes with advanced features such as the data grid. The enterprise edition is available on a subscription basis, with various tiers of service support starting at about US$6,000 per year per server processor core. According to MuleSoft, about 3,000 organizations have used Mule in production use, and about 100,000 developers have been involved in the community development process.