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Mule ESB - The best choice for spring integration

Mule as an ESB and the Spring Framework are a powerful combination with a rich history of successful production deployments.  In this article, we'll look at some of the reasons why so many users choose Mule and Spring as their infrastructure and integration solution.

The spring framework

In the years since its first release in 2004, the Spring framework has become a de-facto enterprise Java standard in its own right.  The original goal of Spring was to allow a more modular, streamlined approach to enterprise Java development than that offered by the J2EE standards of the day, allowing a focus on specific scenarios rather than a broad specification.  
The basic Spring concepts of IoC and dependency injection allow dependencies and situation-specific configuration to be decoupled from program logic, allowing fast, highly flexible development.  
On top of this core framework, Spring developers have built a steadily growing "portfolio" of components which utilize Spring configuration techniques to handle everything from JDBC Transactions and Object Relational Mapping to JEE-style messaging, web frameworks, security, web services creation, and more.  Spring's wide range of functionality, all configured via the same XML schema model, has made the framework a popular choice for "wiring together" multiple components in system integration projects.


Mule and spring - A powerful integration combination

Mule as an ESB, the world's most widely used open source ESB, has been paired with Spring in production environments since its creation in 2004.  Mule and Spring are a natural match - both utilize a streamlined POJO model and XML schema to allow powerful integration solutions to be quickly built around highly specific use cases in a standardized, logical manner.  Spring and Mule both boast some of the fastest development to production times in the industry.    
Spring offers excellent integration between Spring applications, and many organizations have rebuilt their entire infrastructures to take advantage of these features.  However, the framework is not designed to handle the complex integration and SOA scenarios in which Mule is known to excel.  
Using Mule as an ESB with Spring enables teams to build on Spring's integration capabilities, retaining the value of previous work while implementing additional features such as an extensive library of transports and transformers, powerful routing, orchestration, and governance libraries for the execution of SOA strategies, and massively scalable messaging for mission critical high throughput environments.  
Mule's powerful error and transaction management is battle-tested in over 2,500 production deployments, including many major financial organizations.  Mule combined with Spring, represents one of the most versatile, reliable and proven integration solutions in the industry.  

Mule ESB vs. Spring integration

Recently, a new component called Spring Integration was added to the Spring Portfolio, which allows ESB-like functionalities and EIPs to be created and managed within the Spring Framework.  Spring Integration takes what is known as an "application-centric" approach to integration.  
Rather than implement a shared bus, which allows all integration and messaging between components and systems to be managed, administered, and configured centrally, Spring Integration is aimed at providing "just a little" ESB-style integration to specific applications by providing frameworks for implementing common EIPs such as a message bus and simple routing.
Due to its limited scope, Spring Integration is best suited to situations where a small number of components must be integrated, usually internally, and the infrastructure in question is made up of a large number of other Spring components.  For anything more complicated, the lack of a common bus, coupled with the very small number of supported transports and transformers available for the young project makes Spring Integration unsuited for the task.  
The advantage of using Mule as an ESB to handle integration in a Spring environment is that Mule as an ESB is not simply an ESB - it is an integration platform.  Whereas the scope of Spring Integration is deliberately limited to small-scale integration within the Spring Portfolio context, Mule's intentionally modular architecture allows teams to quickly deliver the lightest possible integration solution for any scenario, from simple point to point integration to complicated SOA, cloud and partner ecosystem scenarios.  

About Mule ESB

Mule as an ESB is the world’s most widely used open source enterprise service bus, with over 1.5 million downloads and 2,500 production deployments. With Mule as an ESB’s simplified development model and lightweight architecture, developers can be productive in minutes, easily creating and integrating application services. Mule as an ESB takes the complexity out of integration, enabling developers to easily build high-performance, secure, multi-protocol interactions between heterogeneous systems and services.
Mule's rock solid standards-compliant, format-agnostic approach to integration, active open-source community of integration specialists, and aggressive roadmap make it the integration platform of choice for organizations that take a "big picture" approach to their infrastructure.   

Some of the real-world integration benefits of Mule as an ESB include:
  • Support for more than 30 protocols and technologies
  • Simplified POJO-based programming model leveraging existing developer skill-sets for fast deployment
  • Support for multiple access points such as JMS, JDBC, and SOAP 
  • No reliance on vendor-specific proprietary protocols
  • Ease of use – services can be configured easily in one configuration file. 
  • Extensive data transformations out of the box
  • Small footprint: memory and disk, no application server required 
  • Integration platform model: highly modular, easily extensible codebase - implement proven patterns and build streamlined solutions to unique challenges
  • The open source advantage: large community of real-world integration experts and developers using Mule and contributing to codebase

Want to know more about the future of Mule as an ESB?

The Mule development team has released new Development features to the platform, including: