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OpenESB OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

OpenESB is the #10 ranked solution in our list of top Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) tools. It is most often compared to Mule ESB: OpenESB vs Mule ESB

What is OpenESB?

OpenESB is a Java-based open-source enterprise service bus. It can be used as a platform for both enterprise application integration and service-oriented architecture. OpenESB allows you to integrate legacy systems, external and internal partners and new development in your Business Process.

OpenESB Buyer's Guide

Download the OpenESB Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: October 2021

Pricing Advice

What users are saying about OpenESB pricing:
  • "There are two versions. The first is the community version, which is free and contains the last part of the feature, but if you want to get the Enterprise version, you'll have to pay €60,000 which covers support and two instances on production."
  • "The Community Edition is a full product you can use in production, it does not have limitations like other alternatives."

OpenESB Reviews

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Paul Perez
Integration Architect at Pymma consulting
Real User
Top 5
Supports top-down and bottom-up approaches for the services, processes definition, and composition

Pros and Cons

  • "OpenESB pushes the organization to clearly define service boundaries and interfaces. So it motives the business and the development teams to clearly define their business services and processes they want to implement. OpenESB supports fine and coarse-grain granularity for the services and supports top-down and bottom-up approaches for the services, processes definition, and composition."
  • "The documentation of the product must be improved. It could be tricky to find the right documentation on a topic since the documentation is spread in many places. I advise the new joiner to contact the community to get entry points and additional documentation. Tutorial and Video must be present to take up the product."

What is our primary use case?

During the last years, I worked on many large OpenESB projects. I used OpenESB in many business domains and implemented it in different areas such as Finance (IFDS UK), Bank (ING Belgium), Insurance (Humanis France), Retail (Leroy Merlin), ESL Gaming (Philipines)or Governmental organization (Xunta de Galicia Spain).

Bank, finance, and insurance users searched for reliable integration with their existing applications ( Legacy application, mainframe, external partners.). ESL Gaming used OpeneSB for its scalability and processes 1 billion of message daily with a large configuration deployed on a private cloud.  

Jobcentre services deployed by the government of Galicia require strong availability to provide support to its community. With an OpenESB platform with 4 nine availability, the government of Galicia was able to manage the unemployment crisis caused by the Covid19 pandemic and offered available services to hundreds of thousands of unemployed people.

How has it helped my organization?

OpenESB is a services-oriented integration platform that matches SOA or Microservices constraints and requirements.

OpenESB pushes the organization to clearly define service boundaries and interfaces. So it motives the business and the development teams to clearly define their business services and processes they want to implement. OpenESB supports fine and coarse-grain granularity for the services and supports top-down and bottom-up approaches for the services, processes definition, and composition.

OpenESB is focused on services orchestration and composition but not on message workflows as are competitors such as MULE, WSO2, Dell Boomi, or FUSE. Compared to its competitors, OpenESB has a longer learning curve but a better efficiency when complex implementations are required.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features are :
- The full-service orientation of the product.
- The development process supported, from beginning to end, by a set of graphical development tools.
- The service composition is the core of the product and allows the developer to compose services in a very easy way. Similar to the Oracle SOA Suite composition, The OpenESB composition implements more additional features such as the connection policies between services and interface support. For example, the "last deployed" policy allows you to deploy a new version of service and automatically reroute the messages to this new version. If a bug appears, just redeploy the previous version. So you don't need to stop and start OpenESB and increase the platform availability.

What needs improvement?

The documentation of the product must be improved. It could be tricky to find the right documentation on a topic since the documentation is spread in many places. A part of the current documentation has been written by Sun microsystems and now belong to Oracle. it can be found on the Oracle website. Another part has been written by the OpenESB community and many other documents come from Pymma and Logicoy. So, I advise the new joiner to contact the community to get entry points and accurate documentation. The OpenESB is working on that issue with professional technical writers.

Additional tutorials and Videos to take up the product would be welcome.

Additional components such as a rule engine are welcome. If Connector to Kafka or Apache Gemfire is available, additional connectors to NoSQL containers such as Mongo and Cassandra would be useful.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been working with OpenESB for 10 years.  

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I have good feedback on OpenESB stability and availability but few statistics. The companies that provide me that feedback set OpenESB availability around 4 nines

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

OpenESB scalability mainly depends on the quality of the application design. Once the architecture principles implemented (ex: short and stateless processes) OpenESB has no scalability issues and we were able to process one billion of messages daily for one of our customers.

I insist to say that OpenESB scalability mainly depends on the quality of the application design.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support on integration platform is a bit tricky since each user has a legacy environment (ex: mainframe, SAP, ...) that impacts OpeneSB behaviour. So It is difficult (impossible) for the technical support to recreate an environment for each user.

So when an issue occurs in an OpenESB platform, the user must extract the issue from his/her environment and so allow the support to replay and understand the issue.

Sometimes this simple rule can be a sticking point between the development team and the support.

Once this rule understood, the delay to fix a bug and get a patch is short  (half day in average)

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

We also worked with Oracle SOA and WSO2. Oracle SOA and OpenESB are close since they have been developed by the same team. However, Oracle SOA comes along with mandatory products such as Weblogic and Oracle DB (even if other DB are supported, Oracle pushes to use the SOA suite with its DB). This set of tools makes SOA Suite heavy to install, requiring large resources and overall expensive. Government and Departemental projects have not the budget for such a product, so we switch to OpenESB to offer similar features.

WSO2 is a nice product easy to use and works nicely when simple processes can be implemented as message workflows. A large part of the projects, we worked on, required advanced features in their business processes such as the compensation, the correlation, the support of the SAGA pattern that are not natively implemented by a WSO2 workflow. OpenESB implements natively these features and helps us to complete our projects on time.

How was the initial setup?

OpenESB is straightforward and can be done in a few hours. Lager configuration on the cloud or on-premises with multiple instances can require more time to set up the OpenESB Environment (Not OpenESB itself)

What about the implementation team?

We relied on our internal expertise on OpenESB.

What was our ROI?

Same response than the previous one. Good feedback but few real study on ROI. We get from a financial customer that evaluate the budget save "annually" GBP 20M when using OpenESB around for an annual cost for license support and consulting around GBP 1M. 

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

OpenESB exists in two editions. The Community Edition and the Enterprise Edition. The Community Edition is free of charge. The Enterprise Edition is dedicated to deployment on production and provides powerful monitoring and high scalability and comes with professional technical support.

The licensing model is easy and is linked to the number of OpenESB instances in production. Instances for the other environments (pre-prod, test, QA.) are free and supported.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

see previous question

What other advice do I have?

OpenESB is a smart and efficient solution for integration. It implements sophisticated concepts that must be understood to take advantage of the product. Take time to look at it and contact the community to get more information and documentation. Please have a look at my comment on the question: In what areas could the product or service be improved?

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Amazon Web Services (AWS)
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Pymma supports the OpenESB project and provides services and consulting on OpenESB. But this link does not impact my personal point of view which is independent of my company policy.
PaulPerez
Integration Architect at pymma
Real User
Top 5
Enables us to define the business process and integrate it with other software

Pros and Cons

  • "The core is very stable."
  • "The documentation needs to be better."

What is our primary use case?

Our customer is usually a government organization (who works for a confidential employer), and I work with the job center department of the government, the region of the government of Galicia, Spain. They use this product to define services relating to the unemployment problem. For example, training compensation, taxes, how to search for jobs and social security covering for unemployed people. 

Mainly, I define the business process and integrate it with other software, such as Database and Legacy. Then from Java, we publish microservices or web services for the end-user. 

The website is mainly for unemployed people. They connect to the website and use the services through the web interface.

Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, there were a lot of unemployed people so a few million people started using it. It was very interesting to see this product, which is designed for roughly 200,000 people, to handle this dramatic increase in requirements. Millions of people were connecting every month on the system and there were no issues.

What needs improvement?

The documentation needs to be better — maybe they could add more accurate tutorials. However, since I have been working with the product for a long time, it is not a big concern for me, but for the new generation, this could be a problem. Also, the launch took a while, but once we understood the concept of interface services, it became really powerful.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There are three key components: the development tool, the component and the core. The core is very stable. Sometimes we get bugs on the component, one day the community reported six cases. I find the development tools more annoying than anything. There are some bugs, I don't block them, but they can be annoying. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is very good. Two years ago I worked in the Philippines and we processed one billion messages per day. There were no problems.

How are customer service and technical support?

We have contacted them before. Mainly, when we have a bug we just send it to the community. I know the people at technical support and it's very rare that we get bugs that we are not able to fix. 

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

I used to work with Integration Bus. What is interesting is that the two products were made mainly by the same team, but OpenESB is lighter, you can run it on a simple GBM. It's lighter and has quite a few resources, no application server, and no database. This provides you with more intelligence because there is some kind of friction in the routing service, and you can play with that friction to provide some connection policy, like the last deployed policy. For example, if you were to install version one, and afterward, you deployed version two, automatically — if you decided that your connection will be the right deployed connection — you would be routed to the last version. If it doesn't work, you would just need to redeploy version one.

Also, there are higher-level concepts, such as the interface of services, which allows you to define your interface and choose the method of implementation, like Java for example. On the other hand, with OpenESB, I am more connected. At the monitoring level, you can trust the level and replay the process, which is interesting, but because you have to store everything on the database, you have a conventional system that makes your system require more resources.

The push ability to extract data from the process and then publish it in the data container is very interesting. For example, by using a database like Google's big data analytic search, you can create your own analytics from the data in your process without disturbing the process. 

How was the initial setup?

You can install OpenESB in less than an hour. It's very light, with only three to four components to install. I think one hour maximum is all you need to install OpenESB; however, I am not talking about deployment on the cloud or under which instances you choose to run it. When you install it, you also have to install three or four libraries but I think they have issued a new version that starts automatically within the pre-install version, and that one can run directly.

You don't need to be a technical person to install OpenEBS. There is nothing to do, it's all graphical. You do it through a console, but the person who is installing it must understand what they are doing. In most cases, you just have to deploy two libraries and some components. So, you don't need to be a technical person to install it, but you do to run it. 

The deployment of the application takes only five minutes. As it is unzipping, just set up the Java and that's it.

We do our own maintenance. Right now, we have four people that do it; however, when certain components need maintenance, such as the HS7 component, different people maintain it. 

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

There are two versions. The first is the community version, which is free and contains the last part of the feature, but if you want to get the Enterprise version, you'll have to pay €60,000 which covers support and two instances on production.

To clarify, with Enterprise, you're not paying for the license, you just pay for the support and you get the right to use the Enterprise version.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated three products in total: OpenESB, Oracle, and WSO2. Oracle was too easy and too expensive and WSO2 didn't support it because we wanted to have a simple process. We need a VPN antenna. 

What other advice do I have?

I know the product well, the community has been managing the product for the last 10 years. Because the product comes from Sun Microsystems, it has been given to the community.They have made some improvements during the past years and now the product is lighter, it's very nice.

If you're interested in using OpenESB, I would advise you to contact the people of the community because it's a good tool to get information on OpenEBS. They will provide you with tutorials, additional documentation and they reply. So, connect to the community for support because if you try to do it alone, OpenESB can be quite tricky. 

I would give OpenESB a rating of eight to nine out of 10. I am not giving them a 10 because there are too many faults in regards to documentation. 

Every part of the product is documented, but finding the right one is difficult. Documentation is the main reason why you should contact the community, I think it's the most important reason. There is a special forum in the community to discuss this issue, but you'll have to find them.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
Learn what your peers think about OpenESB. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: October 2021.
541,462 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Martí Pàmies Solà
Founding Partner at Clinical Document Engineering, S.L.
Real User
Top 5
Good integration, and you can easily track processes from end-to-end

Pros and Cons

  • "One of the most valuable features is being able to implement business processes while keeping track of the design from BPMN to a BPEL Implementation."
  • "Regarding its management, a web console being able to synchronize distributed instances would be great."

What is our primary use case?

I began to use it as an integration platform for Healthcare, but then I realized it was more than that. I began to use it as a service BUS and implementing Business Processes in other sectors, like Public Administration.

As an integration platform for Healthcare, I use it because it comes with an HL7 V2 Binding that makes it easy to integrate MLP/R7 inside the BUS.

As an enterprise services BUS, it's a perfect tool to implement infrastructure services (audit, logging, user notifications, etc) and use it on your existing platforms.

How has it helped my organization?

One of the most valuable features is being able to implement business processes while keeping track of the design from BPMN to a BPEL Implementation. Before using it, business processes involving multiple systems were like a black box to me. They were difficult to analyze, and now, thanks to OE BPEL and Casa editor, is easy to understand its implementation.

Regarding HL7 V2, not having to implement an MLP server or client and let the BUS to assume this responsibility alloy me to focus on the process implementation.

It is helpful being able to have a services catalog, and it is easy to use/reuse for all my organization projects.

What is most valuable?

The independence from the protocol invoking the services from it's implementation, making it possible to invoke the same service using different protocols (HTTP/FTP/JMS/FILE) and also being invoked directly inside the BUS without any additional protocol.

Last year I also began to use the Enterprise Version, and the out of the box integration with ELK form both technical and business monitoring. It is amazing.

Technical monitoring allows you how to build an amazing ELK dashboard, out of the box with information on time-response, request content, activity response time, etc.

What needs improvement?

The Studio is a good tool based on NetBeans, but some of its features have to be improved, liked local schemas management.

As an additional feature, I would request an inline XSLT editor. It does not have to be a full WYSIWYG XSLT editor, bus it should make it easy to use or implement simple XSLT without needing to use an external tool.

Regarding HL7, it has a basic HL7 FHIR Support thanks to the new REST BC, but some features have to be added to make it easier to use OE as a FHIR facade.

Regarding its management, a web console being able to synchronize distributed instances would be great.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using OpenESB over the last eight years. I began to use it when I was project manager at a Hospital, when the organization face new challenges to open their systems to external systems (like other hospital or patients) and when the number of internal integration with other systems, make it necessary to use a tool designed to achieve that goal. As we worked on healthcare, the availability of an HL7 V2 connector and HTTPS security support, were key features to to choose OpenESB.

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

I did not use another similar solution prior to this one.

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

The Community Edition is a full product you can use in production, it does not have limitations like other alternatives. For example, not including HTTPS on Mirth.

Using the Enterprise edition is just required when I need Enterprise monitoring, on Enterprise deployments.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I have tried Mirth and InterSystems Ensemble (now Iris).

What other advice do I have?

It's important to understand what a Business Service is before using it.

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