Global Marketing and Branding Service Leader Deploys WSO2 ESB and WSO2 Identity Server to Integrate and Manage Authentication Across 20 Distinct Modules of its Cloud-Based Application
Around the globe, enterprises are seeking to optimize their marketing resources to create compelling brand experiences that are critical to driving business growth. At the
forefront of empowering these organizations is a global brand services company dedicated to helping clients and their strategic partners implement marketing communications, creatively and efficiently.
The company’s innovative marketing resource
management (MRM) software streamlines brand
management and enables greater control across
the entire spectrum of media channels,
marketing activities, and purchasing. Through
the cloud-based, multi-tenant MRM tool, it is
helping revolutionize marketing processes for
companies representing global brands in over
"The fact that
WSO2 ESB and other
WSO2 products are
scriptable makes them
Today, the organization relies on WSO2
Enterprise Service Bus (WSO2 ESB) and
WSO2 Identity Server to integrate and manage authentication across the 20 distinct
modules that comprise the MRM application.
Wanted: Agile Solution for Evolving Marketing Demands
For nearly a dozen years, the MRM was a traditional monolithic application. However, as it
grew, the product became more difficult to maintain, and was soon outdated in the wake of
evolving marketing channels and demands. In early 2012, the company realized it was time
to re-architect the MRM system.
“We needed to decide whether to make an evolutionary change to the product or throw
out what we had and start again,” recalled a development manager with the business. “We
decided on the latter.”
Early on, the company’s development team identified core requirements for the new
system. It had to be modular and based on a service-oriented architecture (SOA) that
would be highly scalable and have long-term maintainability. It also had to take advantage
of open source software. In the SOA tradition, the business first considered SOAP, but
based on the developers’ feedback, decided to move to REST APIs.
Additionally, the development manager said, “We wanted to develop our software centered
on an agile methodology, since we knew this project would take several years and that it
would grow to a large scale.”
The Advantages of an Open Source ESB
Because an enterprise service bus would serve as the backbone of its SOA, the company
invested several months in evaluating both commercial and open source ESB offerings. It
soon became clear that the high total cost of ownership (TCO) for commercial products
made open source software a much more attractive alternative.
“For commercial products, the amount of preplanning and understanding of what we
needed to achieve was just too high to justify the cost,” the development manager recalled.
“We needed a toolset that we could get up and running at minimal cost, so we could see
immediately if we were going in the right direction. We wanted to prove the concept before
making a serious commitment, and open source ESBs provided that ability.”
The open source ESBs were not without their own challenges. Many required Java
development expertise. By contrast, WSO2 ESB, though newer to the market, was highly
configurable and minimized the need for software development.
“At the time, WSO2 was the new kid on the
block, but we liked the way the product was
built around a service architecture,” the
development manager noted. “Then, once
we learned more about the company, its
products and future roadmap, we realized
that it synced up nicely with our needs.”
Another advantage of WSO2 ESB is that, like
all WSO2 enterprise middleware products, it
is fully cloud-enabled.
"With the WSO2
platform, you have the
building blocks to put
together the pieces
anyway you want"
“We have a private cloud environment where all
virtual machines are built through scripts, and everything is deployed automatically,”
explains the development manager. “The fact that WSO2 ESB and other WSO2 products
are cloud-native and scriptable makes them very attractive.”
Building a Service-Based Modular Application
Before moving to the first phase in developing the MRM system’s new modular architecture,
the company first needed to conduct a proof of concept using WSO2 ESB. This initial work
with WSO2 ESB was completed in about three months.
One of the advantages the company quickly realized was the freedom that WSO2 ESB
provided. Other vendors typically locked customers into a certain structure. By contrast,
the business discovered that WSO2 ESB provided all the building blocks but didn’t force
developers down one route. In short, the developers had WSO2 ESB adapt to how they
worked, not vice versa.
As it was ramping up on WSO2 ESB, the company also began looking at solutions to
authenticate its clients and manage their access to the MRM system’s application modules.
Based on the initial success with WSO2 ESB, the business decided to use WSO2 Identity
“WSO2 ESB and WSO2 Identity Server are part of
the WSO2 middeware platform and are built on
the same code base,” the development manager
observed. “So when Identity Server came along,
we knew straight away how the administrator
worked and where the configuration tools were.
DevOps knew how to setup the virtual machines.
We knew how WSO2’s software worked, and that
made life generally a lot easier.”
In early 2014, the company completed phase one
of the new MRM system’s modular architecture
incorporating WSO2 ESB and WSO2 Identity Server.
"It was shocking
how quickly we were
able to optimize our
security features and
deliver an improved
product with WSO2
Figure 1: The company relies on WSO2 ESB to manage messages from the business
layer of its MRM application and direct them to the service layer. Meanwhile, WSO2
Identity Server manages OAuth tokens and provides the company’s clients with SSO
authentication via SAML 2.0.
Tying Together 20 Application Modules
Today, the cloud-based MRM application has 20 different modules running on 20 distinct
systems, which rely on WSO2 ESB for messaging and WSO2 Identity Server for user
authentication and access management.
At the front-end of the MRM system is a client-facing layer that connects to the
application’s business logic layer, which sends messages for what needs happen.
“WSO2 ESB manages the messages through message queues and directs them to the
service layer, which does all the heavy lifting,” the development manager explains.
Meanwhile the company uses WSO2 Identity Server to manage OAuth tokens and provide
its clients with single sign-on authentication via the Security Assertion Mark-up Language
“Our end-to-end, multi-tenant online tool is used by many large businesses around the
world working with sensitive information,” notes the development manager. “It was
shocking how quickly we were able to optimize our security features and deliver an
improved product with WSO2 Identity Server.”
In addition to WSO2’s technology, WSO2 support services also have contributed to
the successful implementation of the re-architected MRM application. Although the
company didn’t use WSO2 development support for the initial work with WSO2 ESB, the
development team relied on the service when WSO2 Identity Server was added.
The development manager recalled, “Our
experience is that after taking advantage of
WSO2 development support, it was a lot easier
to complete the implementation. That was
money well spent.”
Building on its initial success with WSO2 ESB
and WSO2 Identity Server, the company is now
testing the use of WSO2 API Manager and
WSO2 Data Services Server.
“The great thing about WSO2’s software is that
it understands and grants its users the structural
freedom to build their systems,” the development
manager explains. “With the WSO2 enterprise
middleware platform, you have the building
blocks to put together the pieces anyway you want.
We now have the software in place that will allow us to evolve our application and stay at
the forefront in addressing marketers’ changing demands.”
is that after taking
advantage of WSO2
it was a lot easier
to complete the
That was money well