IBM Previews WebSphere Business Connection

Spreading Outside the Firewall

IBM Corp. has said that it expects most Web Services projects to target internal integration efforts in the near term. However, next month it will release a product for Web Services that connects outside the firewall.

Big Blue took the wraps off WebSphere Business Connection, a business-to-business integration server, on Tuesday. The product is based on IBM’s WebSphere Application Server, and offers connectors to a variety of business-to-business standards, including EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) and SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol).

WebSphere Business Connection is specifically designed to connect applications between different businesses, allowing them to share data between critical business applications. The product offers a blend of cutting edge technologies like Web Services, as well as tried-and-true standards like EDI, RosettaNet, and FTP.

Scott Cosby, manager of WebSphere business process integration for IBM, says IBM believes the best tack for business-to-business integration is to use the same tools enterprises would use for integration projects in-house. “[Customers] don’t want to think of b-to-b separate from EAI,” he says. Offering a WebSphere product for projects outside the firewall allows enterprises to use similar tools.

IBM will offer three versions of WebSphere Business Connection when the product is released in September, with three different base prices. WebSphere Business Connection Express will offer basic cross-firewall integration using SOAP, HTTP, and HTTPS at a $5,000 base price. The WebSphere Business Connection Standard product adds traditional standards like EDI, FTP, and RosettaNET with a $28,000 price point. Finally, IBM will offer WebSphere Business Connection Enterprise for $87,000, which includes EDI transformation abilities.

Cosby says that a few niche players offer similar functionality, but to his knowledge, none of the major application server vendors such as BEA and Oracle have competing products on the market.

About the Author

Chris McConnell is Product and Technology Editor for Enterprise Systems.