Big Blue Bulks Up SOA Efforts

IBM this week announced new and enhanced software to help enterprises respond to their ever-changing processes through service-oriented architecture.

The software is based on four software fundamentals—modeling, assembling, deploying and managing a set of capabilities in a SOA, according to Robert LeBlanc, general manager for WebSphere.

IBM introduced the WebSphere Business Modeler, a tool that allows both businesses and IT to model and design process flows before they deploy a SOA.

The WebSphere Integration Developer is an Eclipse-based application development tool that builds composite apps based on specific business processes.

The new WebSphere Process Server helps developers integrate a set of business processes that spans users, systems, customers and business partners.

IBM announced a lightweight version of an enterprise service bus, the WebSphere ESB, which connects Web services-based applications, according to IBM execs.

A new version of its WebSphere Message Broker will take on heavier ESB functionality, integrating non-standards-based applications.

IBM’s SOA product line now features upgraded versions of the Rational Application Developer and the WebSphere Business Monitor. The Rational Application Developer software allows developers to script together services that are designed by the Business Modeler. The Business Monitor helps users monitor business process performance and key performance indicators.

In addition, new services from IBM Global Services will help customers tackle SOAs. The company plans to offer new management software under Tivoli for managing composite applications.

The new products are expected to ship over the coming months, with pricing to be announced at the time, IBM execs say.

ZapThink’s Jason Bloomberg’s reaction to IBM’s recent SOA announcement is mixed. “Parts of IBM's message are quite solid—their SOA Lifecycle is right on the money,” Bloomberg says, “they're bringing a mixed software/professional services story to the marketplace.”

However, its ESB products are the weakest point in the announcement, he says. “It seems to us that IBM's two new ESB products are a ‘me too’ effort...taking the older message broker and relabeling it ESB, and then stripping out some of its functionality to come up with the low-end ESB product,” Bloomberg says.

IBM’s ESBs are not service-oriented in the sense they still abide by the A-to-B integration metaphor and lack any real service-oriented integration capabilities, he adds.

About the Author

Kathleen Ohlson is senior editor at Application Development Trends magazine.