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AmberPoint revs up Web services management toolkit; lands more funding

AmberPoint is on a roll. As one of the few real leaders in the Web services management space, according to most of the analysts who cover this arena, the firm recently announced that it is making available a new release of its software.

On a business note, the company disclosed that it has raised $8 million in a third round of funding, bringing the total venture capital investment to almost $31 million so far. The newest round came from all its previous venture capital backers and one new company, Motorola. AmberPoint is also revving up its presence in Europe, with new hires and support agreements on the continent.

For its part, Release 4.3 focuses on helping customers track and manage thousands of Web services, service agreements and constituent components. The market has “changed from a year ago,” said Ed Horst, AmberPoint’s vice president of marketing. “Some of our customers are literally deploying thousands of end-points” for their Web services, Horst said, in places including retail stores, government agencies and others.

For that reason, most of the new features have to do with simplification and scalability. AmberPoint’s software now does automatic service discovery and dependency analysis, so that customers can find out where all their Web services are located and what other services or applications are related to these services. The result is a color-coded map that customers can click on to drill down into more detail.

On the scalability front, the software’s user interface now features more sophisticated search and grouping, with things like “top 10” lists, so that customers don’t need to scroll through long lists of their active Web services components.

Another new feature is the ability to hide the exposure of all or pieces of a particular Web service, so that unauthorized users can’t make changes. Another benefit of this approach, Horst said, is that customers can “make changes under the covers” to their underlying Web services architectures without having to also change the user interface components.

The final major category of improvements is helping the management software recover from different types of failures. So now the main database can recover from the individual agents, and vice-versa.

Release 4.3 will be available by the end of September.

Overall, these improvements make AmberPoint even more competitive with Actional, its key rival that has been offering features like dependency tracking for some time, according to Jason Bloomberg, an analyst with ZapThink LLC in Waltham, Mass. “More vendors are realizing that the real action is at the SOA level,” he said. Managing individual Web services is a good first start, he said, but other protocols and interfaces need to be managed as part of an overall Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA).

About the Author

Johanna Ambrosio is a freelance writer based in Marlborough, Mass., specializing in technology and business. Contact her at jambrosio@earthlink.net.

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