British Telecom Testing on Web Services Platform

Earlier this month, Cape Clear Software announced a big customer win, offering some validation to a number of integration vendors that have structured their business models around Web services platforms.

Cape Clear has signed a deal with British Telecommunications to be the telecom giant’s preferred provider of Web services technology. Under terms of the agreement, BT will be using Cape Clear’s Web services platform, CapeConnect, to asynchronously connect its information technology network. Financial terms of the contract between the two companies were not disclosed.

Jon Calladine, an application infrastructure consultant for BT, says the choice to work with Cape Clear primarily has to do with CapeConnect’s ability to drive Enterprise JavaBean components with XML, SOAP bindings. He says, BT has been looking to move toward a more asynchronous environment since the process of remote method invocation – Sun Microsystems’ concept for exposing EJBs – has become too taxing on BT’s network infrastructure.

RMI requires all systems involved in exposing an EJB to be up in order for users to access it. CapeConnect, on the other hand, with its SOAP support, can provide access to EJBs asynchronously. Calladine says this will allow BT to run a more efficient network.

Currently, BT is using Cape Clear’s Web services platform in an experimental phase. Ultimately, it hopes to deploy it in a live environment along side its BEA WebLogic application server and IBM MQSeries messaging broker. The aim, says Calladine, is to ease the process of exposing BT’s component architecture, as well as loosely couple its applications.

According to Callandine, CapeConnect’s ability to work with both Java EJBs and Corba objects was a critical element in BT’s decision to license the solution. “Certainly when we started looking into this there weren’t similar capabilities on the market,” he says.

Cape Clear was founded in 1999 by senior executives from IONA Technologies, which is where its expertise in CORBA integration comes from. IONA is a veteran integration provider with a strong background in CORBA implementations.

A customer win of the proportion of BT is not only good news for Cape Clear, but also for all lower-tier Web services vendors. With industry heavyweights like IBM, Microsoft and Sun committing large amounts of resources to Web services initiatives, many analysts have been skeptical about whether Web services startups would be able to compete. Cape Clear’s ability to woo BT seems to contradict this sentiment.

Although Callandine says Cape Clear will not be the exclusive provider of Web services technology for BT, he describes the CapeConnect platform as something that will play a primary role in BT’s network architecture going forward.

About the Author

Matt Migliore is regular contributor to ENTmag.com. He focuses particularly on Microsoft .NET and other Web services technologies. Matt was the editor of several technology-related Web publications and electronic newsletters, including Web Services Report, ASP insights and MIDRANGE Systems.