webMethods to Acquire SOA Governance Provider Infravio

Business integration software maker webMethods has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Infravio, a maker of Web services registry and governance solutions, the company disclosed last week. The Fairfax, VA-based webMethods is buying Cupertino, CA-based Infravio for approximately $38 million in cash.

webMethods is a leading provider of traditional enterprise application integration and enterprise service bus technologies. The company plans to integrate Infravio's SOA registry and governance solutions into its Fabric product suite. It's part of an overall plan to gear up to support to an increasingly service-oriented enterprise. Earlier this year, the company acquired Cerebra, whose semantic metadata management technology was also integrated into the Fabric suite.

"With the acquisition of Infravio, combined with our recent acquisition of Cerebra, we are demonstrating our commitment to doing SOA the right way—a way that actually addresses real market needs and challenges, " said David Mitchell, president and CEO of webMethods, in a statement.

Governance is one of the components of a successful SOA project that most directly affects developers, says Miko Matsumura, Infravio's VP of technology standards.

"SOA can be very unsettling to developers, " Matsumura says. "It creates a situation where there are a lot of potential external irritants that creep into the process of development. But if the true value of SOA is heterogeneous end points—aka service consumers—then developers have to face the challenge of creeping constituency requirements. In other words, they have to get used to large numbers of people asking for features they may not want or even understand. "

By tracking and managing things like development roadmaps, best practices, tutorials, security enforcement, and SLA compliance, governance tools such as Infravio's X-Registry Platform give developers something solid to stand on in the shifting SOA world, Matsumura says. The X-Registry Platform is designed to provide SOA builders with visualization, design-time, runtime, and change governance across the dev lifecycle. It features the patent pending Service Delivery Contracts to improve the configurability and agility of services.

"Developers are increasingly being asked to understand architecture, and their ability to understand it provides almost a layer of defense for them," he says. "It also drives developers to think more about the wide world and the unforeseen consequences of their behavior. "

News that Infravio, one of the few remaining pure-play registry-repository providers, had been acquired came as no surprise to Neil Macehiter, research director at Macehiter Ward-Dutton. But the acquirer was unexpected.

" I must admit that webMethods would not have been at the top of my list of potential acquirers," Macehiter tells AppTrends. " With Systinet now out of play, I could have seen the likes of Oracle or SAP (or BEA, pre-Flashline) opening their wallets. So this is a bit of a coup for webMethods. "

Enterprise interest in SOA has created a veritable feeding frenzy among infrastructure companies, who spent the summer gobbling supporting technology providers. BEA Systems acquired metadata repository management vendor Flashline a few weeks ago. In July, Hewlett-Packard acquired Mercury Interactive and its Systinet Web services registry technology, which MI purchased earlier this year. And in May, IBM added Unicorn Solutions' metadata management capabilities to its data management software portfolio.

" There is broad agreement that SOA registry-repository technology is one of the key capabilities of the service infrastructure required for effective SOA initiatives, and Infravio is one of the comparatively few pure-play providers of that technology, " Macehiter observers. " The likes of BEA, HP, IBM, and Oracle have all invested heavily in a combination of in-house development, OEM relationships, and acquisitions to bolster the registry-repository capabilities of their offerings, and it was only a matter of time before Infravio went the way of Flashline and Systinet and became an acquisition target. "

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at [email protected].