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Smaller enablers joining Web services fray

[FEBRUARY 10, 2001] -- In the fast-growing market for Web services, the big platform players have so far been hogging the spotlight. But an escalating list of lower-profile suppliers is storming the stage with new features and functions to support Web services development. Craig Roth, senior program director at Meta Group, dubs these firms "non-platform enablers."

Two firms said to be leaders in this category are set to unveil what analysts say are significant products this week in conjunction with Microsoft's Visual Studio .NET launch event in San Francisco on Wednesday. Cape Clear Software and Iona Technologies, both Dublin, Ireland-based companies, will unveil upgrades to their flagship Web services offerings, sources say.

Cape Clear has announced the beta release of its CapeConnect 3.5 Web services platform. And Iona has begun shipping the Collaborate and Partner Editions of its Orbix E2A ("end-to-anywhere") Web services integration platform.

The new version of CapeClear's CapeConnect $10,000 per CPU Web services platform, expected to ship by the end of February, is billed as a complete Web services platform. CapeConnect is designed to allow developers to automatically expose existing Java, EJB, .NET and CORBA components as Web services without writing code. The product can be used to connect a wide range of technologies -- including Java, J2EE, CORBA, C++, COM, C#, Visual Basic and Perl -- using Web services standards such as SOAP, WSDL and UDDI. It is also said to include support for Microsoft's new Visual Studio .NET toolset.

The new versions of Iona's Orbix E2A Web services integration platform combines support for Web services standards with business-to-business and enterprise application integration capabilities. The platform is said to extend the creation, deployment and management capabilities offered by the Orbix E2A XMLBus Edition with enterprise Qualities-of-Service, including security; packaged application adapters for Baan, PeopleSoft, SAP and others; and support for emerging Web services standards-based protocols, including ebXML and RosettaNet. Pricing for Iona's platform starts at $150,000.

"The J2EE versus .NET quandary is analogous to a comparison of commodity suppliers," said Cape Clear CEO Anrai O'Toole (also a founder and former top executive at Iona). "Barring issues of trust, the fundamental need of customers is that these services work as advertised," he added.

"Our focus on .NET interoperability, with existing support for J2EE and CORBA, provides a means for every company to use the best tools and applications for their business, and to be comfortable in knowing there will be seamless interoperability through independent Web Services platforms."

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at john@watersworks.com.

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