Mule, the runtime engine of Anypoint Platform, is a lightweight Java-based enterprise service bus (ESB) and integration platform that allows developers to connect applications together quickly and easily, enabling them to exchange data. It enables easy integration of existing systems, regardless of the different technologies that the applications use, including JMS, Web Services, JDBC, HTTP, and more. The ESB can be deployed anywhere, can integrate and orchestrate events in real time or in batch, and has universal connectivity.
The key advantage of an ESB is that it allows different applications to communicate with each other by acting as a transit system for carrying data between applications within your enterprise or across the Internet. Mule has powerful capabilities that include:
- Service creation and hosting — expose and host reusable services, using the ESB as a lightweight service container
- Service mediation — shield services from message formats and protocols, separate business logic from messaging, and enable location-independent service calls
- Message routing — route, filter, aggregate, and re-sequence messages based on content and rules
- Data transformation — exchange data across varying formats and transport protocols
Do I need an ESB?
Mule and other ESBs offer real value in scenarios where there are at least a few integration points or at least 3 applications to integrate. They are also well suited to scenarios where loose coupling, scalability and robustness are required.
Below is a quick ESB selection checklist. To read a much more comprehensive take on when to select an ESB, read this article written by MuleSoft founder and VP of Product Strategy Ross Mason: To ESB or not to ESB.
- 1. Are you integrating 3 or more applications/services?
- 2. Will you need to plug in more applications in the future?
- 3. Do you need to use more than one type of communication protocol?
- 4. Do you need message routing capabilities such as forking and aggregating message flows, or content-based routing?
- 5. Do you need to publish services for consumption by other applications?
Mule is lightweight but highly scalable, allowing you to start small and connect more applications over time. The ESB manages all the interactions between applications and components transparently, regardless of whether they exist in the same virtual machine or over the Internet, and regardless of the underlying transport protocol used.
There are currently several commercial ESB implementations on the market. However, many of these provide limited functionality or are built on top of an existing application server or messaging server, locking you into that specific vendor. Mule is vendor-neutral, so different vendor implementations can plug in to it. You are never locked in to a specific vendor when you use Mule.