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SOA software on tap from IBM, Sun, Infor and Vitria

SOA software on tap from IBM, Sun, Infor and Vitria

Merging with virtualization makes it easier to deploy a service-oriented architecture

Vitria Technology and CA are ready to release service-oriented architecture software products aimed at letting customers more easily monitor and fix problems that occur in an SOA environment.

The announcements follow others made recently by IBM, Sun Microsystems and Infor. IBM is focusing on merging virtualization with SOA and making it easier to deploy a service-oriented architecture, while Sun's offering focuses on the security and automation of large numbers of transactions and trading partners across multiple applications and systems. Infor last week unveiled an SOA strategy called Open SOA, which helps companies build an event-driven SOA in which applications and software components can be deployed and upgraded without disrupting other enterprise systems.

In related SOA news, Vitria Monday is releasing Business Accelerator, an SOA platform that allows enterprises to design business processes and deploy them on any type of application server.

"It's a new cut at SOA infrastructure and I think that Vitria pretty much had to do this," says Gartner analyst Roy Schulte. "It helps with the integration problems where you are connecting service components or service outlets. When you're connecting chunks of software which are different from each other, you need an intelligent backbone, and that's really what they have here."

Vitria is also announcing Resolution Accelerator 3.0, a product that resolves runtime errors or other computer problems that cause delays, high costs and customer dissatisfaction. It will be released at the end of the month.

This version of Resolution Accelerator includes a mass repair function that recognizes common root causes of errors and provides a simple way to correct them all at the same time. Thousands of errors can be caused simultaneously by problems such as power outages or system outages, notes Dale Skeen, CEO and co-founder of Vitria.

Error, or exception, management becomes a bigger problem in SOA environments because they involve more applications from more vendors than standard IT infrastructures, Skeen says.

The lightweight version of Business Accelerator costs US$15,000 per CPU, while the industrial-strength version goes for US$40,000 per CPU. Resolution Accelerator 3.0 will cost $50,000 per CPU.

Last week, IBM said it has developed five new configurations for its System p servers that merge virtualization and service-oriented architecture software to ease SOA rollouts.

The configurations combine IBM server and virtualization technology with IBM SOA-based software offerings such as WebSphere, Tivoli and Information Management.

IBM's new server configurations are interesting because many companies want to deploy SOA but find it too complicated says Judith Hurwitz, an analyst who co-wrote the book Service Oriented Architecture for Dummies .

"A lot of the customers that we talk to about SOA, they want to do it, they understand it provides a great benefit to their organizations, but they get stymied because they're not sure how to get started," says Hurwitz. "By being able to preconfigure things like aspects of WebSphere, Enterprise Service Bus or some of the other capabilities like a portal, it makes it easier for companies to get started."

The configurations will come with System p servers at no additional charge and will be released over the next year, according to IBM. The first will become available in the spring.

Early this month, Sun Microsystems announced the availability of its Identity-Enabled Business-to-Business solution , which it says securely centralizes and automates management of large numbers of transactions and trading partners across multiple applications and systems.

"As companies tackle larger B2B integration projects, these corporations are challenged with developing a B2B platform that can be re-used across multiple projects and which can provide a single point of entry into the company's firewalls," Sun said in a press release.

The new system includes Sun's identity management products and its B2B solution, which is part of the Sun Java Composite Application Suite. The system is now available and pricing starts at US$50 per employee per year, or US$12,500 for a per-socket perpetual license.

Last week, Infor unveiled Open SOA, a distributed architecture that lets companies create environments that use software components built in-house or by many different vendors, rather than an environment focused on one vendor's products.

"By remaining platform-independent, Infor Open SOA facilitates interoperability between different enterprise systems and prevents the need to 'rip-and-replace' to support the requirements of a proprietary middleware stack," Infor said in a press release.

Open SOA will be delivered in phases as incremental updates to regular product releases.

Delivering products that can work with multiple systems is a good way for small vendors to make a statement in the SOA market, Schulte says, because IBM and Microsoft have been slow to release platform-agnostic products.

"The market is so fluid I don't think anybody's got an established position," Schulte says. "There's a space for these other vendors because the big vendors are slow to get some of these capabilities into their products. ... At the end of the day, Microsoft wants you to run all your applications on Windows. Their support for heterogeneous platforms lags quite a bit."

Senior Editor Denise Dubie contributed to this story

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