A new edition of Progress Software’s Sonic ESB is designed to make it easier for large enterprises to adopt open-source frameworks and to follow standards.

Sonic 8.0, released yesterday, uses Plain Old Java Objects (POJOs) as its default programming model. It also includes support for JAX-RS (Java API for RESTful Web Services), a specification for Web service integrations. Sonic 8.0 also includes native support for the Spring Framework.

The new programming model accommodates developers who are using patterns to assemble services, said Jonathan Daly, product marketing manager for integration infrastructure at Progress.

Another part of its motivation to use POJOs was to help developers write applications that work well when run virtualized, Daly said. “Java EE is kludgy when it comes to thinking about virtualization.”

“Progress is one of the more aggressive in implementing and supporting these industry standards,” said Mike Gilpin, vice president at Forrester Research. Progress’ engineers are active in several key open-source projects “where innovation around those standards is happening,” he said. Those projects include the Apache Camel integration framework and the CXF services framework.

“From an integration perspective, developers are letting go of Java EE in favor of SpringSource,” Daly said. SpringSource, which is owned by VMware, produces middleware for open-source application frameworks, including Grails and Spring. Many large enterprises would like to use those frameworks to benefit from the increased flexibility (as well as the standard adherence) that they offer, but they are frequently stymied by the limitations of open-source solutions, he said.

“Open source has made strides around enterprise QoS as well as tooling, but there is still a point where commercial products are simply better,” Daly claimed. “In the past, they had to make a choice: Go with open standards and not worry about QoS, or go with a proprietary Web services stack, accepting non-portable, proprietary stuff.”

Developers can now “drop” standards-based Web services into Sonic and gain its enterprise capabilities, Daly said.

“What I think is interesting is the path Sonic brings to organizations who want to start with standards and open source, but realize they need management capabilities and a good development environment,” said Maureen Fleming, program director for IDC’s Business Process Automation and Deployment service.

“Its embrace is well-timed, but is an area of focus for some competitors in their next releases. Sonic is ahead of the curve, has a good understanding of open source, and also has a good understanding of enterprise-class software.”

Other incremental updates in Sonic 8.0 target systems management. Sonic users may now synchronize management and upgrades across ESB locations. That capability reduces costs and minimizes location-based discrepancies, Daly explained. A failover feature is now included.

Further, Progress also added a modeling component to its deployment manager, which developers can test and model against prior to deployment. “It minimizes runtime surprises,” Daly said.