The differences between a hard and soft SOA appliance

In the last blog I wrote about the similarities and differences between a SOA "soft appliance" like Intel SOA Expressway and an ESB-based product.  Two key questions often arise out of that discussion: (1) Why do I need a SOA appliance if I already have an ESB, and (2) Why is a "soft appliance" better than an easy-to-deploy, secure and high-performance hardware appliance?

The capabilities of a SOA "soft appliance"

In my last blog post I wrote about the origin of the idea behind a new category of enterprise infrastructure which I referred to as a SOA "soft appliance". This post is about the key features and characteristics of a SOA "soft appliance" and how we have manifested those features in the Intel SOA Expressway platform.

The birth of a SOA “soft appliance”

A few years ago, we were facing some challenging scalability and costs issues with a key aspect of our enterprise infrastructure. Like many companies we dove head first in the use of XML and web services as a means to refresh a major enterprise application using the latest design patterns of n-tier distributed systems and SOA. Diligent development resulted in an architecture that worked as advertised; it was flexible, far easier to re-configure and re-purpose than its predecessor. That’s the good news and the usage followed.

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