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Lesson 7 Where the rubber hits the road
Objective Look briefly at the most popular ORB vendors.

Corba Orb Vendors

At this point, we have seen a large part of the core ORB and the basic building blocks of CORBA clients, their requests, CORBA servers, and their replies.
This lesson introduces four of the major ORB vendors and their products.


BEA Systems, Inc. is probably best known as the owner and developer of TUXEDO, a widely used distributed transaction-processing software which they acquired from Novell in 1996. BEA is different from the other vendors in this list because they recently added CORBA functionality in 1997 when they purchased ObjectBroker from Digital Equipment Corporation. BEA has made a strategic decision to move into CORBA, because CORBA transactions have had little support from the vendors until recently. BEA is also adding CORBA support to TUXEDO.


Expersoft Corporation has been involved in distributed computing since their founding in 1989 and have been leaders in the CORBA field for years. Their ORB product, CORBAPlus is well respected and is focused on providing CORBA in large enterprise settings. Expersoft was late to offer a Java version of their product, which may have lost them market share over the last several years.


Borland, the result of a Borland and Visigenic merger, offers a wide variety of development tools in various languages, including an ORB product named VisiBroker. The VisiBroker product was one of the first to offer a Java version and has grown quickly over the past two years (especially in the U.S.), due to the quality of their product and strategic partnering with market leaders.
There are several examples of this strategic partnering: Netscape is embedding versions of VisiBroker in its browsers and servers; Oracle is partnering with Inprise and using VisiBroker; and Sun has discontinued their ORB product, NEO, adopted VisiBroker, and migrated all existing NEO customers to VisiBroker.


IONA Technologies, originally based in Ireland but now with offices worldwide, is the leading CORBA vendor in the world. Their ORB product, Orbix, has been on the market since 1993 and offers an extremely wide selection of CORBA-based products on many different platforms and offers more CORBAservices implementations than any other vendor.
IONA has forged a working relationship with Microsoft and has licensed COM to provide COM to CORBA integration solutions. IONA is particularly popular in Europe and the strength of their Orbix product will surely maintain leadership in the industry.