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XAware's Data Integration App Goes Open Source

XAware Inc. has released its latest data integration software under an open source GPLv2 license and also achieved Gold Partner status in the MySQL Enterprise Connection Alliance program. MySQL is an open source database management solution.

XAware 5.0 is built on the Spring Framework and is a plug-in that works with the open source Eclipse design environment. The product can be used to support traditional database applications, as well as applications where relational and XML data are mixed.

It helps to enable business processes in service-oriented architectures (SOAs) by "service-enabling" the data, according to Bill Miller, XAware's executive chairman.

"I really think of it as a data integration capability, but it's based on the idea of using SOA and Web services standards," Miller said. "So we service-enable data by connecting to existing data sources through many different available mechanisms, and it's a bidirectional connection."

XAware adds the kind of XML-based data handling capabilities to the open source MySQL database that is now featured prominently in proprietary database management solutions. Such XML handling capabilities, as introduced in Oracle Database 9i and IBM DB2 9, didn't previously exist for open source databases, Miller said.

"And the combination of XAware and MySQL actually gets you -- not only to that level that's available from Oracle and IBM -- but to an even greater level of being able to mashup not only the data in MySQL, but also the data that's coming from other Web services or outside or inside the company, data that might be in a text format (structured or semistructured) that can then be exposed as services," he explained.

XAware's Eclipse-based development environment features wizards that allow developers to specify dependencies between data sources and build data objects, and then those objects can be mapped into XML. The product provides an intermediate layer that enables sophisticated mapping, with logic that allows you to do it dynamically and have it executed at runtime, Miller said.

The product offers a flexible way to work with multiple data sources and construct data mashups, he added. It can also be used for a traditional data integration approach outside an SOA environment, such as ETL (extract, transform and load) and moving data from one store to another.

About a third of XAware's customers are using the product to support federated data exchange using XML-based standards, which is typically done between business-to-business partners, Miller said. XAware has schema navigation plug-ins for XML formats, such as the ACORD format, which is used to describe insurance policy standards in XML.

Miller said that one insurance company customer is currently using XAware to construct messages based on data in their backend enterprise systems and send these XML-based messages to their insurance agents. The insurance company then uses XAware to deconstruct XML messages received back from the insurance agents and shred that information into the backend systems, some of which are relational database systems.

Performance degradation has not been an issue.

"We've had more than 70 production applications of this at this point and we haven't had a problem with architecting solutions that meet the performance requirements," Miller said.

He added that XAware is "very scalable" due to its design.

"Because of the way we've implemented our solution as a runtime -- it can run inside an app server and it's Spring Framework based and it has a very lightweight footprint at runtime -- it lends itself very well to being able to take advantage of the clustering and scale-out capabilities that the app server environments bring to you," Miller said.

XAware 5.0 is available for free use and commercial license. The product can be downloaded at the XAware Open Source Community site here.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is online news editor, Enterprise Group, at 1105 Media Inc.

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