Apache ServiceMix: The True Apache ESB

Any organization that wants to take full advantage of the benefits of integration should become familiar with the enterprise service bus (ESB). An ESB facilitates communication between multiple applications by connecting them only through the bus, enhancing your organization’s flexibility by keeping those applications independent of each other. An ESB simplifies the application integration process by consolidating your company’s services in a single location.

Apache ServiceMix is a robust ESB solution that takes full advantage of the Apache ecosystem. While Apache provides a variety of products that are ESB-adjacent, including Apache Camel, it offers only one genuine ESB: Apache ServiceMix. This article discusses the important differences between Apache ServiceMix and Apache Camel, as well as how your organization can get the most out of Apache’s ESB-related solutions.

What is Apache ServiceMix?

Apache ServiceMix is an open source ESB that uses the OSGi (Open Service Gateway Initiative) framework. It was originally built using Java Business Integration (JBI). Thanks to the work of the Apache Software Foundation (ASF), Apache ServiceMix has been repeatedly updated and is made available free of charge. 

  • Developed by: Apache Software Foundation
  • Model: Service-Oriented Architecture
  • API: Java Business Integration
  • Distribution: Apache License
  • Framework: Open Service Gateway Initiative
  • Built using OSGi Blueprint
  • Spring DM (Legacy)

ServiceMix is a fully-fledged, independent ESB product, but also offers the flexibility of working within another ESB. It takes advantage of the features of several applications in the Apache ecosystem — Camel, Karaf, CXF, and ActiveMQ. These features, and others, distinguish Apache ServiceMix as an ESB solution:

  • It uses a service-oriented architecture (SOA) model. The benefits of the SOA architecture include standardizing communication between web services, independence between web services and the client, and the flexibility of using various coding languages.
  • It is rooted in the Java Business Integration. ServiceMix has matured significantly over its lifetime, but it supports and remains compatible with JBI components and services.
  • It is distributed under the Apache License. The Apache License is open source, which allows anyone to modify Apache ServiceMix and release the altered version for public consumption.
  • It supports OSGi, through Apache Karaf, and Spring. Apache Karaf is an OSGi container used by ServiceMix. OSGi is a modular Java development framework, and ServiceMix takes full advantage of OSGi’s inherent flexibility in a variety of ways. ServiceMix also supports Spring, a popular Java application framework.
  • It takes advantage of Apache ActiveMQ. ActiveMQ serves as a message broker for ServiceMix and facilitates custom configurations to match the user’s needs.

Apache ServiceMix serves as Apache’s fully-fledged ESB solution, but it is not the end of Apache’s ESB-related products. Apache Camel, which is integrated in Apache ServiceMix, is also available as a standalone option for organizations who may not need the full suite of capabilities provided by ServiceMix.

Is Apache Camel an ESB?

Apache Camel is a Java-based open source framework built to assist organizations with integrating different applications and services. It does this by implementing a variety of popular Enterprise Integration Patterns (EIPs). An EIP is an established method of integrating the messaging capabilities of different applications. There are a total of 65 EIPs divided into several categories. Camel offers significant connectivity capabilities through its use of dozens of EIPs, and it is built modularly so that users can customize it as required for their own applications.

While Apache Camel, on its own, provides substantial EIP capabilities, it does not qualify as a genuine ESB. In comparison to Apache ServiceMix and other ESB solutions, it is missing several integral features, such as a message broker à la ApacheMQ and a container like Apache Karaf.

Apache Camel’s modularity and limited functionality can be significant advantages in comparison to ServiceMix, depending on an organization’s needs. Regardless of which product best suits your company, however, optimization through Talend’s ESB offerings can provide significant benefits and ensure that your organization is getting the most out of Apache’s ecosystem.

How to optimize your Apache ESB solutions

Talend enables organizations to achieve broader and faster value from Apache ESB technologies by integrating them with complementary open source middleware technologies, testing and certifying them for production, packaging and pre-configuring them for easy deployment, and backing them with technical support and professional services.

Staffed with technologists who are major contributors to Apache ESB and other popular Apache open source projects, Talend has emerged as the leading professional provider of open source enterprise middleware, with hundreds of thousands of users across corporations and public agencies worldwide. Find out how Talend ESB can help your company optimize both Apache ServiceMix and Camel.

How to optimize Apache ServiceMix

Talend ESB incorporates Apache ESB technology including Apache ServiceMix into a comprehensive framework for designing, building, running, and managing SOA services. Leveraging and extending technology from all of the Apache enterprise service bus open source projects, Talend ESB employs a lightweight distributed architecture that embeds easily across your existing systems.

The modular, pluggable framework lets you create smart endpoints with just the amount of integration services needed. True to its underlying Apache ESB foundation, Talend ESB is entirely open standards-compliant, for maximum interoperability and agility. The high-performance service bus delivers intelligent message routing in support of any major enterprise integration pattern.

How to optimize Apache Camel

Talend ESB leverages Apache Camel to provide a lightweight, flexible ESB that can serve as the foundation for a wide range of integration projects. Talend ESB supports Camel’s EIPs, and adds much of the same functionality to Camel as Apache ServiceMix, including OSGi support. Talend also provides support for the integration of Routes created in the three DSLs used by Camel. Both Camel and Talend ESB can be easily extended with pluggable functionality as your needs evolve. 

Getting started with Apache ServiceMix and Camel

While Apache ServiceMix and Apache Camel serve different functions, both can help your organization integrate its applications and facilitate communication between them, when used properly. However, incorporating an ESB into your data integration strategy can be difficult. 

Talend makes the various Apache ESB projects available within a variety of enterprise integration solutions, each tested, certified, and packaged for easy deployment. Community Edition Talend application integration products are available to download and use free, under an Apache open source license. The subscription-based Talend ESB includes technical support and access to Talend consulting services, delivered by veterans of the Apache ESB projects.

Learn more about Talend’s application integration solutions from the many resources on this web site, or download Talend Open Studio for ESB today and start benefiting from an easy-to-use open source ESB tool.

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