IBM Integration Bus Review

A platform to seamlessly integrate applications. Regretfully it may have session management issues

What is our primary use case?

We are using Integration Bus for SOA (Service-Oriented Architecture) services. We are using it to connect APIs to servers, we are using it as an integration bus for hosting, and we are hosting our web services over it. I am using and testing this from the QA (Quality Assurance) perspective.  

What is most valuable?

The Integration Bus has provided us with a certain level of security. For instance, before we used this solution, we were directly connecting to databases through a DB link. We were able to stop that practice and make it more secure using Integration Bus. It has also provided us with the capability to reuse developed services. Services we developed can now be used with multiple systems and we are able to remove duplicate applications due to this advantage.  

What needs improvement?

Surely something that can be improved is session management. Sometimes sessions hang. Practically every day we hear about session congestion and this kind of thing. Troubleshooting the issue has become a long-standing problem. Where the true problem lies is a challenge for our support team.  

The session management issue may be a bigger problem for us because our support team is not so highly trained. Also, sometimes our developers are not able to dig down to locate the actual problem. To resolve the issue when it occurs, we have to at least restart the server. It is not really solving the problem, it just relieves the symptoms. These session management problems are the basic issues we are having, but otherwise, our services have become better after bringing in the Integration Bus.  

One thing I would like to have added to Integration Bus is a plugin — or some other software, — to enable testing the performance of our services from the application hosted on the IBM service. I think that the users of the system should be able to get something like that and somehow do performance testing on their own. Currently, I have used some studio or some plugin to find these results. Another option is using services that are available that I have also tried. If IBM could provide this same type of testing capability in its application, that that would be great. It would enable us to report to our business on the facts about how much we have improved from the earlier architecture.  

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using IBM Integration Bus for the last three years.  

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is a stable product especially with the release of version 10. We had problems with version 9. But now, version 10 was really a lot more stable and a lot of things have improved. We are much more satisfied with the product and stability of the performance. It is fairly rare that we are unable to troubleshoot something. But I think that most of the problems that we have, from my point of view, is because we are not better trained on the product as a whole. Maybe training could resolve some of our troubleshooting issues. Everything may not be the fault of the product.   

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We had scaled up the product usage, so I know it is scalable. We were only using it with a few systems in the beginning and now we are using it with a whole bank of systems and all of the systems are integrated tools.  

How are customer service and technical support?

The IBM partner that we are working with here is System Limited. IBM was not directly supporting us during the installation and if we have issues we work with the IBM partner.  

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We did previously have another solution called BixTalk which we were using four to five years ago. One major problem with BizTalk was that we had very few people available who were actually trained on it. Secondly, there were some sever issues as well. We had a synchronization problem on top of that. Because it was so long ago I do not remember all the issues. Maybe we did have some other problems also. But we had a problem with the product support as well.  

How was the initial setup?

From an installation point of view and just initially setting up this product, it required a lot of configuration. The configuration is the harder part of the installation. Otherwise, the installation was done in a few days by our team. I do not remember exactly whether we had any major problems in doing that, but it could be there were problems and I just did not hear about them.  

There were a lot of things to configure, but that was taken care of by a different department. Our operations department would be the group that handled this. So I do not have actual first-hand information because I did not participate in the process.  

What other advice do I have?

It is a little hard to suggest a product for someone else without knowing anything about their situation. I would surely recommend it for companies that have lots of applications that they want to integrate. This is mostly what I would recommend it for. If you want a platform that seamlessly integrates your different applications, IBM Integration Bus for you.  

On a scale from one to ten where one is the worst and ten is the best, I would rate IBM Integration Bus as something like seven to eight. For the time being, I will give it a seven. I am pretty much satisfied with the product, but there are certainly ways I have mentioned in which it could improve.  

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?


Which version of this solution are you currently using?

Version 10
**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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