IBM to add software for managing SOAs

IBM this month plans to announce software for managing service-oriented architectures, making it the latest in a line of vendors offering tools for automating the process of monitoring SOAs and the applications that run on them.

The software, called IBM Tivoli Composite Application Management (ITCAM) for SOA 6.0, will monitor application performance and give network managers views of application servers and the other SOA infrastructure components, according to documents IBM presented at the Share user group conference in Boston two weeks ago.

SOA management software has been available from start-ups for more than two years, but it's now becoming a priority for large vendors of management tools and application server software. Hewlett-Packard and BEA Systems both announced products in June, and vendors such as BMC Software, Computer Associates International Inc. and Oracle Corp. also compete in the SOA tools market.

Erik Sargent, a Web applications architect at Providence Health System, said he's happy with the Web services management tools from Infravio that he has used for the past three years. The Infravio tools work with components of BMC's Patrol management suite. But Sargent said he still needs more from his management tools.

"I'd ultimately like to see a visualization and management tool for Web services that understands where they are running and how well they are running, and their interactions," he said. "As an application developer, I want to make sure the apps are running and, if not, that the server and network guys can respond."

Shawn Willett, an analyst at Current Analysis, hasn't received a formal briefing from IBM on ITCAM but has reviewed the Share presentation. Willett said IBM appears to be covering its bases so it can compete against its top software rivals for SOA-related business. IBM's offering "looks like it is heavily weighted toward management, monitoring and enforcing of policies rather than setting up any kind of infrastructure for SOAs," he noted.

ITCAM will support SOAs based on IBM's own WebSphere software or BEA's rival WebLogic application server, plus SOAs developed using Microsoft Corp.'s .Net technology, according to IBM. It declined to disclose pricing or a shipment date.

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