Sonic SOA Infrastructure version 6.1 released!

by David A. Chappell

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I recently read in an airplane magazine that its becoming common practice for technology geeks to use their blogs to talk about new product releases for their respective companies :), so here goes mine –

Sonic Software has released version 6.1 of its ESB-based SOA Suite product line. Sonic SOA Suite 6.1 adds a new Collaboration Server, Database Service, improved service invocation model, a new deployment tool, and a new SOA Workbench to bring it all together.

Here is an excerpt from the press release that sums it up pretty well -

“Sonic has extended its ESB-based SOA infrastructure line with two new products: the Sonic Collaboration Server™ for managing partner interactions; and the Sonic Database Service, which simplifies access and re-use of relational data sources. A new deployment tool simplifies the entire SOA lifecycle, making it easier to deploy and continually upgrade services and processes across large-scale deployments. Enhancements to Sonic ESB® and the Sonic Workbench™ in the 6.1 release increase SOA development productivity with a new uniform service invocation model that allows services of any type, from Web services to databases, to be easily incorporated into the ESB. “

The new Sonic Collaboration Server is a B2B server which extends the capabilities of the ESB to integrate external business partners using B2B protocols and Web services standards. It allows an administrator to fully manage the partner interactions, including using partner-specific protocols and security checks. It lets you add or change partner configurations without bringing down the server. The Collaboration Server is itself configured as a service on the bus, which allows it to enjoy full deployment flexibility of complete location transparency, scalability, and remote configuration and deployment through the ESB management infrastructure. Collaboration Server has a flexible architecture which separates out the collaboration management from the protocol management, which themselves are divided into separately deployable services that talk to each other through the ESB. Collaboration Server comes with built in support for B2B protocols such as ebXML and RosettaNet RNIF 2.0. Collaboration Server shares some of the capabilities of the Sonic Orchestration Server, which enables stateful collaborations and document exchanges that can persist beyond a single request/response operation. Collaboration Server also provides a graphical environment for modeling the process which fulfills your business’ role in conversations with partners using UML modeling notation (swim lanes).

The primary use case for Collaboration Server is to sit at the “edge” of the enterprise and handle partner collaborations, but it could also just well be used for message exchange and collaborations between departments and business units. The need for such flexibility in those diverse use cases has been a topic of discussion that has come up quite frequently at the SOA forums recently.

The new Relational Database Service provides the easiest and fastest way to integrate relational data sources into an SOA. We were able to leverage the the industry-leading drivers from our sister-company, DataDirect ( to provide out-of-the-box connectivity with Oracle Database, Microsoft SQL Server, Sybase Adaptive Server, Informix Dynamic Server and IBM DB2 UDB, in addition to any JDBC-enabled data source.

The Sonic Database Service lets you encapsulate and re-use relational data sources as services in a SOA. The database service eliminates custom coding, and makes it easy to configure and execute queries, updates and stored procedures as broadly-available services on the bus. The database service automatically populates SQL query parameters based on incoming XML message parameters, and transforms result sets back to XML. And because it’s a fully fledged ESB service it can enjoy remote administration of database connections and configuration through the Sonic Management Console. There is also a query editor support as part of the latest Sonic SOA Workbench that lets you create, test, and debug SQL queries, map XML messages to SQL query parameters and map result sets to XML messages.

Service versioning and migration - There is also a new graphical deployment tool which simplifies process and version control during migration of ESB services and processes from development to test and deployment. This means you can group together a process definition with the individual versions of associated services that it calls, and treat that as a project that can be version controlled, and migrated from a development sandbox, to a testing sandbox, to a deployment environment. Cool stuff.
This has been another popular subject of discussion in the SOA Architect Forums, identified as being a leading issue in what's required to make a distributed SOA viable.

Improved service invocation model. We have improved the overall experience in invoking external web service calls from the ESB, and from the Sonic Workbench. The Sonic Workbench and ESB provide a uniform model for natively invoking services of various types, such as Web services, databases or intermediary services, allowing all types of services to participate as “first-class citizens” in the enterprise SOA.

The new Sonic SOA Suite, which combines all these things, is an ESB-based distributed services platform, providing business process management and operational visibility across the enterprise. Sonic SOA Suite extends Sonic ESB with service orchestration, XML-based operational data management, and fully integrated access to relational data sources. A cohesive solution to the challenges of broad-scale business event and process management, Sonic SOA Suite lets you dynamically manage, mediate and orchestrate services in a unified SOA framework.

The Sonic SOA Suite is a bundling that includes these products
• Sonic ESB
• Sonic Orchestration Server
• Sonic XML Server
• Sonic Database Service