Report reveals split personality of ESBs

One ESB for people completely ticked off at enterprise software, another for those still coping.

A few weeks back, when IBM announced its two-ESB offering, Big Blue was subjected to plenty of jeers and catcalls from the industry. Having two ESBs only would only confuse things more than they already were, it was said.

Now, Forrester Research has issued a market analysis that finds, lo and behold, there really are two distinct ESB markets. Maybe IBM is on to something here. Then again, let's hope Big Blue is getting some value out of its $25-million-plus market research budget.  

The first segment of ESB users consists of folks really ticked off at enterprise vendors, thanks to all the software that has been jammed down their throats in recent years. Mike Gilpin and Ken Vollmer, Forrester analysts and co-authors of the report, call this group of potential ESB users the "keep it simple" crowd. They want simple and low-cost integration; and are looking for a lightweight plug-and-play ESB. These are usually organizations that have lived through a enterprise application integration (EAI) or business process management (BPM) debacle. In short, they have been burned, and won't be fooled again. 

The other segment of the ESB market, Gilpin and Vollmer say, consists of those currently mired in the midst (or mist?) of large enterprise projects. The authors call them the "I want it all now" crowd, and they typically want to install an ESB within a broader application or integration platform. These buyers want ESB features from their broad platform strategy, whether an application platform or an integration suite. They're looking for solid support for the service life cycle. "I want it all now" customers typically are leveraging an SOA approach for full-fledged BPM, not just service orchestration.