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August 14, 2005

Cape Clear to ESB inventors: “bring it on”

While the row over just who invented the enterprise service bus or ESB rumbles on, Cape Clear Software Inc's CEO Annrai O'Toole told the ESB inventor claimants to "bring it on".

By CBR Staff Writer

We definitely did not invent the ESB concept, but we are shipping a true ESB and have real customers who are buying lots of it, said O’Toole. It’s great for us that all these guys are claiming they invented the ESB, and that others are claiming they have an ESB when they clearly don’t, because it is validating the market. When people decide they want an ESB, those companies can’t deliver. What I say to those companies is bring it on.

Tibco Software, Sonic Software and Fiorano Software all claim they invented the ESB, which is said to be the next generation in web services standards-based integration. After being rather quiet about the term, IBM recently began using it and claiming that it has one too.

Customers want to see a product that is an ESB, said O’Toole. Can you go and download the product from their web site? You can with ours. That’s why we are winning multi-million dollar deals.

That’s why Pearson chose Cape Clear for a new enrollment system for students, O’Toole continued. They went live in July, and have already handled 10,000 value-bearing transactions. By the fall that will have grown to several million. Our ESB is using BPEL [the business process execution language] and WSRM [web services reliable messaging] standards. It’s a pure ESB. It’s been tested to handle 125% of the necessary load and guarantee a sub 2.5 seconds response time.

O’Toole claimed that Cape Clear’s ESB holds the record for the largest number of concurrent BPEL transactions – 40,000 – with another of its customers, fault-tolerant server maker Stratus Technologies, using it to link its manufacturing with its suppliers.

The real benefit is that we can do a proof of concept in well under four weeks, because our ESB is a software product, not something that needs loads of consulting. Customers want software, not a black box, said O’Toole. The other nice thing is that because our ESB is built on a servlet engine, it can run on pretty much anything. Stratus liked that because it means they can run it on Stratus servers.

O’Toole said the average sale price is in the high six figures. He criticized SeeBeyond, which has just been bought by Sun, for generating just 37% of its sales from software licenses. 90% of our revenue is software licenses, claimed O’Toole. We’re not going down the consulting route because then you stop innovating with your product.

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Cape Clear was founded by former Iona executives in 1999, and is privately held with the primary investor being Accel Partners. O’Toole would not say how many customers the company has, but claimed it is adding 20 to 25 customers per quarter. He said the company is not yet profitable as it is still investing for growth, and said the company is actively hiring in the US and UK. Cape Clear is headquartered in Massachusetts, with offices in Dublin, London, and California.

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