IBM Integration Bus Review

Easy to understand documentation with a huge list of examples and tutorials


What is our primary use case?

We have used IIB as a complete ESB solution with IBM MQ for various financial institutions. IIB supports various connectors, message formats, and transport protocols.

Its transformation language, ESQL, is easy to learn and use. Rich support of the mapping node (GUI mapping), JavaCompute Node, XSL, etc. make it useful and developer friendly.

IIB 10's primary features:

  1. REST API design and development support out-of-the-box. OpenAPI compliant.
  2. Lightweight run time, hence it is ideal for Docker/microservices implementation.
  3. Several ways to admin using web interface, REST API admin capabilities, and console administration.
  4. Long list of already built-in connectors for legacy systems (CICS, MQ, etc) and modern system connectors (Salesforce, LoopBack, etc.).
  5. Long list of parsers (XMLNSC, DFDL, JSON, etc.).
  6. Easy to understand documentation with a huge list of examples and tutorials.

How has it helped my organization?

  • We were able to implement REST APIs quickly by using out-of-the-box support for design and implementation.
  • IBM support is exceptionally competent and quick.
  • It has been on the market for a long time, so getting skilled resources is convenient. Therefore, you will see your team growing and learning it quickly.

What is most valuable?

  1. REST API design and development support are useful. Building and exposing APIs using GUI API designer with editor makes implementation a breeze.
  2. Pub/Sub support (using IBM MQ) and MQTT broker support bring complex patterns (CQRS, etc) and services to life real quickly.
  3. Web interface, REST API for viewing services, admin, stats, and deployment are premium features, which makes IIB stand among its competition.
  4. Several connectors for various different protocols.

What needs improvement?

  1. My biggest concern is its MQ dependency, which are still not 100% independent. E.g., in the case of aggregation flows, IIB needs a complete overhaul for aggregation implementation to achieve orchestration implementation.
  2. Development toolkit (based on Eclipse) should be improved in terms of responsiveness.
  3. It lacks unit testing framework similar to JUnit for Java or MUnit for Mule ESB.
  4. IIB run time and installation still need to shed more weight and become lightweight for to become full Docker applications.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No issues. It is stable enough.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No scalability issues.

How is customer service and technical support?

IBM support is fantastic and quick.

Which solutions did we use previously?

We did not switch. Wherever I have implemented it, it was either:

  1. IIB/WMB was already there.
  2. It was the preferred choice.

How was the initial setup?

I would rate the initial setup (with MQ) on AIX and Linux as a six out of 10, as it needs expertise.

What about the implementation team?

We implemented it in-house.

What was our ROI?

We are going through digital transformation journey. For now, the solution is helping us.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

  1. The IIB setup is still very command-based. The implementation is not so easy.
  2. It still needs a lot of environment and OS-related tweaking.
  3. Pricing is on par with its competition.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated Mule ESB. We didn't consider because:

  1. Mulesoft was relatively new. Hence, it lacked skilled resources.
  2. The cost was high compared to IIB.
  3. The client had a good relationship with IBM. 

What other advice do I have?

IIB is a great product. It could use some minor improvements, such as: 

  1. IIB toolkit needs design overhaul; maybe some themes.
  2. Current aggregation implementation should be deprecated. MQ independent, as well as an intuitive solution, should be proposed.
  3. App Connect Enterprise (IIB's newer version) might solve the above issue.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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