Tools promise to manage Web services complexity
As Web services proliferate, so will the scope of managing all interactions
from back-end hardware and software systems through to end-user applications and
portals, according to Dan Foody, CTO at Actional Corp. Thus, he maintains, a
management overview is needed.
''When people design a system, they really only see their portion of the
overall environment,'' he said. ''They don't see how that relates to something
else that relates to something else.''
Foody said organizations often have teams with different views and skill sets
working on parts of what becomes a larger Web services infrastructure. For
example, a team of Java programmers can develop a powerful financial analysis
application that can then become a Web service that is available to end users
through a portal built by another team using Microsoft .NET.
But while each team is familiar with their portion, IT has to have an
overview of the entire Web services infrastructure for all the parts to work
To provide that end-to-end view, Actional this week brought out the general
availability of management tools specifically designed for .NET and Windows. The
Actional tools, including Actional SOAPstation, Actional Looking Glass Server
and Actional Active Agents, are designed to work with Microsoft Operation
Manager (MOM), Foody said.
Actional engineers worked with their Microsoft counterparts to fully
integrate the new tools with Microsoft's MOM tools for management, monitoring
and alerting, reporting and trend analysis, to provide the big picture of Web
services interaction, he said.
''With Looking Glass, our Active Agent technology and our SOAPstation
technology, we're able to give people global visibility into what's happening
end-to-end throughout the system,'' Foody said.
The combination of the Microsoft and Actional technologies will allow IT
departments to assure reliability when an end user goes to the portal to work
with something like the financial analysis Web service, he said.
''Microsoft MOM gives you great visibility into what's happening on an
individual system all the way from the hardware through the operating system
through the application,'' Foody explained. ''That gives you a detailed view of
what's happening on one system. Where something like Looking Glass ties in
together, we now understand how that application interrelates with other
applications, so that you can see how problems might ripple throughout the
system. If you can detect a problem in one place, you can figure out what all
the cause and effects may be, you can figure out what caused that problem to
appear in one spot, but you can also figure out who may be affected by that
''So when you combine together a technology that gives you a detailed view of
an individual system with a technology like ours that gives you a deep
understanding of how these systems are inter-related,'' continued Foody, ''you get
broad-scale visibility into everything that's going on in the network. You have
a much greater ability to predict and deal with failures and to also correct
those failures before they become noticeable to users.''
Rich Seeley is Web Editor for Campus Technology.