Smaller enablers joining Web services fray
- By John K. Waters
[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,
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
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
John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached