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As your company grows and expands, your IT needs grow with it. With these growing demands, you need to be certain that your middleware solution is on the right track. A great place to start is to understand some of the software options for your middleware integration needs. I will be comparing two very strong contenders in the middleware integration space: MuleSoft and Oracle SOA Suite. Both of these middleware products, when used correctly, will ensure that your company’s growing pains become more of a strength than a problem. As you expand into new spaces like mobile, cloud, and big data, these middleware products will allow you to do it as efficiently as possible with the use of code reusability, discovery, and enablement.

Strengths of MuleSoft

A lot of MuleSoft’s strengths come from it being a lightweight open source ESB platform for integration development. Use the table below to see how those strengths manifest themselves in certain areas of use and development.

Oracle SOA Suite Mule ESB
Open Source There is no open source version. Has an open-source version that can be used (even in production) without any licensing costs. However, the open-source version is mostly used for playing around or doing a proof of concept to later upgrade to the enterprise version, which includes additional features that you probably want to use and support.
Enablement It can be difficult to find out what services are available already in Oracle SOA Suite unless you know exactly what you are looking for. MuleSoft provides enablement options for you to find what APIs are available, contains documentation on those services, and lets you request access to the service all in one location. This allows developers and the business to really utilize the existing APIs to the highest degree.
Pricing With this product you have high licensing costs and support costs plus a non-transparent pricing model. The costs of the enterprise version are generally comparable to SOA Suite. If the open-source version is enough functionality then there is a pricing advantage due to it being free.
Installation The installation can be tedious and occasionally take more time to build (several days) for a simple development platform installation. This is due to the fact that it is a suite with many other applications that come with it. There are no installations required for MuleSoft. It works through download and extract. Generally quicker and easier than SOA Suite in that regard.
Run-time Load The SOA Suite products can be rather heavy with how much functionality is provided out of the box. Resource consumption at run-time is pretty high. Open source ESBs are generally quite lightweight and provides extensible solutions to your middleware needs as you need more functionality.
Feedback There is no easy way for someone who utilizes an exposed service to leave feedback about issues or adding functionality. MuleSoft has a feedback option per API that it exposes, which allows anyone that utilizes that service to leave feedback about any additional functionality needed or any issues they are having. This feedback is easy for the development team to find and act on, if they decide there is value to it.
Salesforce Oracle SOA Suite has an adapter to connect to Salesforce. MuleSoft was purchased by Salesforce, so their integration with it is very well done and continues to improve. If Salesforce is important to your company, then MuleSoft can provide a lot of out-of-the-box integration with it.
Infrastructure Flexibility Oracle SOA Suite is pretty locked down on where you can run your infrastructure. MuleSoft has many options for running the infrastructure on premise, CloudHub (MuleSoft’s cloud service), or your own customer cloud that you pay for. This functionality comes standard.

Strengths of Oracle SOA Suite

In contrast, when we look at where the strengths of Oracle SOA Suite come from, it is generally from the acquisition and development of additional functionality over the years of maturation of the product. Take a look at the table below to dig into some of those strengths.

Oracle SOA Suite Mule ESB
Companion Products Large list of other companion products are available in it by default. For example: BPEL, Business Rules, Coherence, Complex Event Processing, Enterprise Messaging Service, Service Registry, and quite a few more. Mule ESB has to be combined with products from other vendors for additional features if needed.
Logging and Auditing Oracle SOA Suite has out-of-the-box capability for logging and searching through logs through their UI. You can also view every single message that goes through the system and follow it through your integration as it calls out to target systems to see all the details of what is going on. MuleSoft is more on the stateless side which just logs to a .out file. You have the options to expand on this with log4j, but that would all be custom code.
Human Workflow Oracle SOA Suite has a built-in option for a human action (i.e. approval of a request) to certain messages. The request waits for a certain time until a person approves or rejects it before moving on in the flow. MuleSoft does not have any Human Workflow functionality out-of-the-box.
IDE The tools used for development are very powerful and have been stable over years. Eclipse and JDeveloper based development. These tools are also common in lots of other development, so your developers may already be comfortable with them. This gives it a slight advantage. MuleSoft ESB development is through the proprietary Anypoint Studio. With Inbuilt Server, Debugger, Monitoring Capabilities. One Click propagation to dev-prod servers. This is also a great IDE.

Where They’re Neck and Neck

We have looked at some of the strengths of the two options where the other may be lacking something, but there are also many things they both do well, even if they do it slightly different from one another. The table below has some examples of this.

Oracle SOA Suite Mule ESB
Graphical Editing Graphical editors exist for most products for easy drag and drop job. Graphical editors for an efficient implementation of integration scenarios.
Connectors and Adapters Connectors and Adapters available that supports most of application integration needs. If there is something you want to connect to that is not out of the box then custom connector development is possible. Similarly, mostly all the standard connectors for B2B products are available. While it may have slightly less out-of-the-box options than Oracle SOA, MuleSoft still provides Anypoint Connector (out-of-the-box Devkit) for custom connector development.
Support Support from Oracle is available at different service level agreements. While the free open-source version has no support, a commercial enterprise version is available. This offers support for the product.
Reusability With an experienced Oracle SOA Suite developer and architecture, it is possible to create services that can be reused with little effort to expand your IT offerings. MuleSoft also offers great options for reusability and discovery with its API-based connectivity. Once you create an API to expose a certain service, you can reuse it from multiple consumers.
Inbound SOAP vs. REST Oracle SOA Suite really uses SOAP as an inbound message standard, but also supports REST very well. MuleSoft, in contrast, generally prefers REST inbound services, but can also support SOAP.

Choosing the Right Middleware Solution for You

We have taken a look at two of the leading middleware solutions and really dug into their strengths and weaknesses. In order to decide which one is right for your company, you really have to understand what your requirements are and go through these strengths to see what would work better for you. Our integration specialists at Zirous have a wide range of expertise in both of these solutions. Sign up for a free whiteboarding session to dive into your system with our experts, or reach out to us with questions. With our years and wide range of experience in creating middleware solutions, we can help you with your unique integration needs to drive your business forward.

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