Monday, 6 September 2010

What is SOA - XML appliances

An XML appliance is a specialised piece of almost ESB-like hardware offering facilities like:
  • Hardware encryption/decryption
  • Digital signature creation/verification
  • Fine grained Authentication, Authorization, and Auditing
  • XML threat protection
  • Dynamic routing
  • Message filtering
  • MIME, DIME, and MTOM attachment processing
  • XML acceleration
  • Web services management
  • Service level monitoring
  • EIS integration (Protocol conversion, MQ, JMS, Database, Webservices)
  • WS-* support with registry/repository integration
So why would you want to use one of these?
  • Enhance performance by removing the burden of CPU intensive XML processing from servers offering services
  • Appliances are "hardened" in security terms (as compared to an out of the box server) so ideal for DMZ deployment
  • Lower total cost of ownership
  • Wrap legacy systems with limited service offerings with WS-* capable services
  • Platform integration
IBM for example offers a suite of such appliances in its DataPower range: see the "IBM® WebSphere® DataPower® SOA Appliance Handbook" for a good introduction to the topic and IBM's offering.