Iona has prepared an open-source enterprise service bus (ESB) based on Java, called Celtix. The project will be hosted on the ObjectWeb open-source community.

With a release date of late this year, Celtix is a new codebase, although its architecture is modelled on Iona's commercially available, higher-end Artix ESB, said Eric Newcomer, Iona's CTO. Iona hopes the ESB will act as the infrastructure for Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) systems, which enable apps to be developed from a combination of reusable services.

Developers will be able to contribute to Celtix, Newcomer said. Celtix will offer base-level ESB features such as support for SOAP, XML payloads, and WSDL. Other technologies supported include WS-RM (Web Services ReliableMessaging), JMS (Java Message Service), HTTP, and Java Business Integration APIs. Eclipse-based administration and configuration tools also will be featured.

But Celtix will lack the more sophisticated features of Artix, Newcomer said. Artix offers higher levels of security such as single-sign-on and bridging to federated security domains as well as two-phase commit for transactions. "Celtix is going to do just what we consider kind of the commodity-level transports," Newcomer said.

Iona is appealing to the growing open source movement. "We have some customers say that they really need open source," Newcomer said. Similar to other open-source business models, Iona hopes to offer value-added services and entice some Celtix customers to purchase Artix.

Asked if Celtix eventually could encroach on Artix, Newcomer acknowledged the possibility. "We're certainly aware of the risk of creating an open source project like this," Newcomer said. "It's more important for us to embrace the change [to open source] than fight it." Artix is priced at $5,000 to $10,000 per CPU.