SOA Software Pushes Workbench Governance

SOA creates a Workbench for providing 'closed loop' governance; Iona brings ESB to open source.

SOA Software, one of the last standalone service-oriented architecture (SOA) vendors standing in a space shrunken by consolidation, added a new major piece to its software portfolio for managing distributed computing systems.

Called Workbench, the software is an integrated registry and repository that allows developers to manage SOAs (define) , or platforms for helping unrelated applications communicate conduct tasks.

Workbench allows service providers to enforce runtime policies for their consumers and speed service reuse, which are two of the core tenets of an SOA.

The new product competes with the Systinet software acquired by HP (Quote) vis-à-vis its Mercury Interactive buy, the Infravio product acquired by webMethods (Quote) and IBM's (Quote) WebSphere Service Registry Repository.

But Ian Goldsmith, vice president of product marketing for SOA Software, said those companies' governance tools are insufficient because they do not enforce run-time policies or ensure that the policies they define are being enforced. Moreover, they have little knowledge of the actual usage of the services they govern.

Workbench can be deployed as a standalone application or integrated with SOA Software's Service Manager product to offer customers SOA governance in a "closed loop" infrastructure for defining, enforcing and auditing, Goldsmith said.

In this model, users define a policy in the governance system, enforce the policy in runtime, and the runtime generates compliance data which the governance system audits, comparing that data with the policies to close the loop.

Specifically for SOA Software customers, Workbench defines policies that are enforced by the Service Manager security and management systems.

Service Manager collects metrics and compliance data that it passes back to Workbench, which implements an audit process comparing these metrics with the original policies to ensure that they are being correctly enforced.

Conversely, Goldsmith said SOA Software competitors have disconnected governance and runtime models.

"You've got a governance model where you define a policy and hope that it is being enforced, and you've got a runtime that randomly enforces policies and really doesn't know what it's enforcing," Goldsmith said.

SOA Software is hosting a technology preview for Workbench this month; the product will be generally available in 2007, with pricing starting at $50,000.

While SOA Software focuses on governance, Iona fuels the delivery of applications across disparate networks with its enterprise service bus (define), which federates communications between applications in a SOA.

Iona this week introduced Celtix Enterprise, the company's open source ESB.

The software is an alternative to the open source ESB from MuleSource and from commercial products like its own Artix offering and ESBs from vendors IBM, BEA Systems (Quote) and Tibco Systems (Quote).

Like the models set by MySQL and JBoss before it, Iona is offering the Celtix server for free, planning to make money through a combination of related technology and corresponding consulting, training and support, said Debbie Moynihan, director of open source programs at Iona.

"Anyone can come and download the code free of charge with an open source license," Moynihan said. "When they're ready, if they're ready, they will have support available from us."

Some customers prefer this free-software, paid-support approach because they don't necessarily have the perpetual licensing cash, technical wherewithal or time to set up an ESB on their computer networks.

Celtix Enterprise includes the Celtix Advanced Service Engine as a lightweight framework for creating and connecting Web services (define) . This software is based on code from the Apache Incubator project CXF.

The ESB also exchanges messages via point-to-point message queuing and publish-subscribe through the Celtix Advanced Messaging platform, which is based on the open Advanced Message Queuing Protocol (AMQP) from the Apache Incubator Qpid project.

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