From IBM Redbooks: IBM WebSphere DataPower SOA Appliances Part I.
Draft Redpaper, last updated: Mon, 10 Mar 2008- Understand and effectively deploy DataPower SOA appliances - Parse and transform binary, flat text, and XML messages - Learn how to extend your SOA infrastructure
IBM® WebSphere® DataPower SOA Appliances represent an important element in IBM’s holistic approach to Service Oriented Architecture (SOA).
DataPower is an interesting product. It’s basically a network device that’s really really good at transforming XML messages using XSLT. The marketing-speak says that it does it “At Wire Speed” (aka really really fast). Now you may wonder why you would need this box when WebSphere Process Server can transform messages itself. The devil is in the details about the hardware. In order to transform an XML message, theres a ton of work needed by your server to convert the structure into java and then run the transformation engine etc. Why use your expensive server hardware for such a trivial task? Offload that work onto an appliance designed for just that task and use your process server for the actual business integration that you bought it for.
One thing I hear about DataPower is that it’s a very expensive product. What most people miss though, is that it allows you to buy a less powerful server in exchange. You interact with the box via SOAP/HTTP calls which allow the transformation to be used by any application, not just process server. I also hear of it being used a lot in conjunction with WS-Security, allowing the box to put the appropriate headers onto the messages in a “pass-through” manner.
Yet another goal of mine this year (actually by May 2008) is to do more learning about DataPower and how to get the box to work its magic. I plan on writing the certification test at the WebSphere Services Technical Conference 2008 in Vegas.
This Redpaper is actually the first in a series of four that are scheduled to come out this year.