SOA Software has completed a technical integration between its directory-oriented policy, security and management products with BEA's latest AquaLogic ESB (ALESB), although SOA Software points out that BEA's products don't necessarily need additional policy, security and management capabilities. No, the cooperation between the vendors does not even extend to channels, or resellers, or even a common go-to-market effort.
But there is something here for both vendors -- and for end-user architects as well. BEA likes the idea of tight integration with SOA Software's management overlay not so much for installations where BEA is predominant. The cooperation comes in handy where BEA's ESB is but one of a handful or even many ESBs in use.
SOA by definition doesn't just react to heterogeneity -- it tends to promote it on an ongoing basis (albeit with some trending toward consolidated core infrastructure). BEA wants to be in a good position to become one of the ESBs left standing, if you will, over the long term. Therefore an ESB that plays well the most tends to play the longest.
The "playing well" attributes of SOA infrastructure components will no doubt play out in unpredictable ways over the next five years. And it will heavily influence the decisions my enterprises as they seek the best risk-reduction balance between best-of-breed and common-integrated-stacks approaches.
But perhaps most intriguing about this all-for-one, one-for-all solutions-based mashup of SOA vendors with their components is to staunch the appeal of open source SOA components in the mix. One of the biggest attractions to open source SOA infrastructure components isn't in getting access to the code -- it's in balancing risk on lock-in and proprietary creep -- you know, where your start with one core proprietary component and end up with more and more under the hood over time.
So hurrah to vendor cooperation and overlap and openness and interchangeability. With SOA, it may be the only strategy. May the best components in price-performance win, and may easy choice between them remain not a chimera or unfulfilled daydream.
Incidentally, the technical integration work has been done, and the synergistic cooperation between these products is now available in the field, or so I'm told. Also, SOA Software also recently announced an integration benefit between its products/solutions and those from Cordys.