IBM Busts Out Its Fall SOA Catalog
October brings forth multiple upgrades to products enabling service-oriented architectures.
IBM last week released several service-oriented architecture (SOA) products that the company has enhanced. The rollout is part of the company's twice-a-year release schedule (in April and October) where multiple products get mentioned all at once.
IBM updated various products that help ensure process integrity in SOAs, including:
- WebSphere Process Server, which ensures overall process reliability
- WebSphere Message Broker and MQ, for Web services support
- Tivoli Composite Application Manager for SOA, providing service-flow views
- WebSphere DataPower XML Security Gateway, a hardware security device
- IBM Information Server, which lets you reuse data as services
The company also updated its SOA governance solutions, including "WebSphere Service Registry and Repository (WSRR), Rational Asset Manager (RAM), Rational Tester for SOA Quality and Rational Performance Tester extension for SOA Quality," according to IBM's announcement.
The connection between IBM's SOA and Web 2.0 capabilities is a key highlight in this announcement, according to Sandy Carter, vice president of SOA strategy at IBM. For instance, the company's WebSphere Business Monitor solution allows users to create dashboards without coding.
Other IBM products supporting Web 2.0-style application development include new versions of WebSphere Commerce, WebSphere Message Broker and WebSphere Portal. A new IBM WebSphere Application Server Feature Pack for Web 2.0 helps in the development of interactive application interfaces.
IBM's overall approach with its many products is to meet three styles of SOA deployment typically found in organizations, Carter said.
The foundational stage is characterized by departmental deployments of SOA. An example is U.K.-based OAG, an online commercial aviation travel agent company, which handles 1.5 billion records for 25 million flight departures. OAG wanted to reuse its data. For companies such as OAG, IBM offers its new SOA Sandbox environment, a free test bed on the IBM developerWorks Web site to help develop and test SOA apps. Users can download a trial version of Rational Software Architect for design, testing, and deployment of Web services and SOA apps, which is available at the SOA Sandbox page. IBM also offers its SOA configurations, which are best practices for implementing SOA solutions, Carter explained.
Organizations also use SOA to extend their business processes, typically involving other entities. An example of this second stage of SOA use is the University of Florida. The university's CIO was given the requirement to integrate some of the university's solutions with an outside party. He was able to accomplish the task using IBM's solution in less than two month's time, Carter said. The integration enabled 98 percent of his transactions to be delivered at subsecond-response times.
The third stage of SOA deployment is transformational. It's characterized by companies involved in advanced efforts, such as process integrity improvement. An example is office supplies company Staples, which needed an application to work across its whole sales channel to increase its online conversion and transaction rates. Staples used IBM's WebSphere Message Broker for the enterprise-wide task, she said.
IBM also announced a data governance-type solution called Optim that manages a company's internal business records. It protects the privacy of "client and employee data in complex application environments," according to IBM's announcement. Optim uses technology that IBM obtained when it acquired Princeton Softech.
Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.