Beyond the expertise accumulated in these ‘patterns’, Impact also focused on improvements that have been made to extend the use of WebSphere integration software (WebSphere is now used in 200 IBM products), that Marie Wieck, general manager for IBM’s application and integration middleware business unit and another keynote speaker, claimed are “all about breaking down barriers between business and IT.” According to Wieck, many of these new capabilities are designed to make the WebSphere platform easier to use, which in turn will encourage more self-service; however, the most notable new announcements were around the new version of WebSphere Application Server which in the Liberty development environment can speed application deployments by 16% or more over competitive middleware products. The result is use in new cases, such as mobile applications that typically have to manage huge volumes of transactions very quickly – speed becoming an increasingly critical issue in cloud environments where data and apps are accessed by mobile devices. In addition to enabling new use cases, enhancements to WebSphere v. 8.5 and it SOA core are also designed to accelerate the adoption of cloud, a technology that with its mobile handmaiden is fundamentally changing the way enterprises (and consumers, for that matter) consume resources.
As Wieck explained, “SOA essentially means that you can decompose what you do into building blocks with standard interfaces and that you have an architectural framework, usually through an enterprise service bus, to connect those individual components and framework elements together. Nobody that we know that is using cloud... does everything on cloud all at once. They outsource a task to the cloud.” By helping to isolate or identify these tasks – or good candidates for outsourcing – while maintaining connections between individual data components through interface integration, SOA and the IBM middleware serve as a foundation for staged migration to the cloud, which has become the norm for organizations seeking to preserve data and application collaboration. Wieck also pointed to WebSphere’s Cast Iron, an integration solution designed to enable customers to connect their private, public and hybrid cloud environments – which also received a facelift with new API services for developers to deliver, socialize and manage business API assets.