is gearing up to take
WebSphere V5 live, as the company offered a sneak peek this week of some of
the upgrades over previous versions.
Chief among these, according to IBM Director of Marketing for WebSphere
Scott Hebner, is the addition of an integrated workflow engine geared to tie
Web services together. The Armonk, N.Y. firm claims it is the first full
Web services workflow tool for the Java Enterprise Edition.
“For the last 5 years or so, the primary usage of app servers on was to take
applications and make them available to users over the Internet — they were
about putting the front end on something that already existed,” Hebner
explained. “The primary purpose of app servers has shifted — we are now
building new business capabilities that are network based. The app server
has become more about business integration [making apps interconnect] than
dynamic Web sites.”
With WebSphere V5’s new capabilities, workflow can help manage a number of
applications on a network and “compose them or choreograph them,” Hebner
said. So, in a goods and services business environment, WebSphere V5 can
take stock of the status of credit, inventory and shipping in a purchase order and
transform them into a Web services structure.
“.NET is different in that it links apps together by moving info between
them,” Hebner said.
Gartner analyst Jess Thompson told internetnews.com the news is an indication of how IBM is assimilating the assets of such workflow integration and business process management purchases as CrossWorlds, MetaMerge and Holosofx.
This, Thompson said, is important because those firms contain certain assets that overlap with features of IBM’s Websphere MQSeries integration software. Thompson said he estimates the streamling of those assets may take three to four years.
“IBM is slowly evolving into a workflow architecture,” Thompson said. “What this announcement does is show how IBM is rationalizing Websphere’s capabilities.”
Hebner told internetnews.com that WebSphere V5 supports the Business
Process Execution Language standard built by IBM, Microsoft
and BEA Systems
. To wit, Microsoft and IBM are considered rivals in the
Web services space because they propose different visions about how Web
services must be exercised (WebSphere versus Microsoft’s .NET platform), the
two agree on standards.
A recent study from Forrester Research found that IBM and Microsoft are
leading the Web services pack — for now.
“IBM and Microsoft have led the Web services charge, and it shows in their
products,” wrote Forrester analyst Ted Schadler. “Both vendors clearly
demonstrate the breadth and depth. However, neither one has a definitive
lock on the market for Web services infrastructure because neither one can
ditch its application server in exchange for lightweight Web services
execution engine and a message-oriented architecture.”
firms have been surveying developers and CIOs to determine to what
degree they have embraced Web services. A recent study conducted by the
Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), Systinet Corporation and
Computerworld Magazine found that 74 percent of the respondents believe Web
Services can deliver tangible value to businesses as they are now.
This survey polled 779 corporate and software industry professionals about
their knowledge of the Web Services marketplace, its potential to support
business needs, and adoption expectations for Web Services products. The
survey results will be released to attendees at SIIA’s “Web Services Forum:
Proving the ROI” held on October 22, at the Union League Club in New York.