XML key to managing Web services

Efficiently processing XML is key to moving Web services into applications requiring high transaction volume and adherence to service level agreements, according to Ed Horst, vice president of marketing at AmberPoint Inc.

Added performance enhancements released this past week for AmberPoint's Web services management products are designed to address that need, he said.

Since July 2002, the 18-month-old Oakland, Calif.-based start-up has been releasing management tools for Web services performance monitoring, usage tracking and information flow. AmberPoint's products were recently recommended by Forrester Research for organizations seeking to fill Web services management gaps that the analyst firm said are not yet covered by the offerings of established vendors.

AmberPoint's vision of the XML future includes extending Web services management technology beyond simple tasks such as keeping track of the daily volume of SOAP messages, Horst said.

"The big differentiator we have is our ability to provide an application-level view, not just a system view," he explained. "Not to just turn things on and off and watch things, but to be more active; to take some action when something goes wrong and not just passively monitor. So the premium is on handling XML efficiently."

For example, he points to AmberPoint's service level management product, which goes beyond tracking system performance to potentially enforcing an organization's service level agreements with customers.

"You may have customers grouped by different services levels," Horst explained. "You can actually target different levels of performance and availability for those different customers. AmberPoint will monitor that on a real-time basis and also, if you want us to, take some corrective action if we see things going out of tolerance or out of target."

If high-priority customers are starting to experience slow response times placing orders through a Web application, and adding servers and doing load balancing isn't fixing the problem, AmberPoint can act like a store manager by providing red carpet service.

"Maybe it's time to make the lower-priority customers wait," Horst said in explaining this automated management scenario. "Put them in a queue or tell them to come back later, so the high-priority customers are serviced within tolerance."

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About the Author

Rich Seeley is Web Editor for Campus Technology.


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