I've long been a fan of XML Appliances. Looks like IBM customers like the appliance idea as well. IBM said that DataPower was one of the top-selling products and also announced that DataPower-lution is one of their strategic directions for 2009. Basically, more and more edge functions will be moving into the appliance. And why not use the same device for XML acceleration, load balancing, crypto acceleration, caching, perhaps even WebSEAL replacement (it's just a fancy reverse proxy after all). We'll see how this vision plays out.
In a related news, there is finally a DataPower book and it's 960 pages long. And this is before IBM started adding all these edge functions to the device :).
There are a few elements about XML Appliances, especially the likes of IBM that have made them a challenge to use in complex scenarios, need for learning yet another language, and that too, a functional one (XSLT).
You should take a look at new products in this category, Intel SOA Expressway, for one, that do not require XSLT programming.
Thanks for the pointer, SOA Expressway looks very interesting. I like the software-based architecture a lot. One problem with DataPower is that a developer has to have access to the physical device. I think it’s too limiting. Reliance on XSLT is less of an issue in my mind, besides some functions don’t explicitly require XSLT.
The standard functions like encryption, digital signatures, routing, etc., do not require any XSLT.
Customized solution may leverage XSLT to access DataPower functionality. But hey what’s not to love about XSLT ;-)
With all of this XSLT in the device, is there a way to export the IBM functions fo XSLT so they can be imported into a software development tool (i.e. – Altova’s MapForce)? It would make it much easier for a developer to code and unit test there before getting to the device.