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SOA Software Ratchets Up Services-Management Competition

SOA Software stepped up its competition with other services oriented architecture software suppliers by announcing it will provide policy enforcement over running services as well as service governance.

Service governance, or the setting of policies and automated tools to manage a service during its lifecycle, has been a tentative first step toward managing the hundreds or thousands of services that proliferate as businesses convert their software infrastructure to SOA. SOA Software's move lays down the challenge of saying of policies governing services are not enough. There must be a method of monitoring enforcement and auditing for its effectiveness. The move steps up the level of what's expected in terms of automated management of proliferating services inside enterprises moving toward services oriented architecture.

Frank Martinez, executive VP of product strategy, said most governance systems that can set policies, such as dictating delivery of user results within a limited response time, "have no way of knowing if that enforcement is taking place. If there's no run-time enforcement, that takes the teeth out of governance entirely," he said in an interview.

SOA Software will launch its new Workbench product in January as a "closed-loop SOA governance" product that will have a starting price of $50,000. Workbench will provide UDDI registry and repository services, with a policy management engine. It also will include workflow for the first time that helps govern how policies are defined and applied. Although Workbench is a stand alone product, it is also designed to work in conjunction with SOA Software's main product, Service Manager. Workbench can share its repository with Service Manager, said Ian Goldsmith, VP of product management.

SOA Software is a well-financed, privately held SOA software supplier, whose products command top prices in the marketplace. It has 100 customers, according to Goldsmith. The company was formerly known as Digital Evolution and changed its name to SOA Software in March 2005. Since then its moves have been emblematic of the rapid roll up of Web services start-ups into rapidly growing or mature companies.

It received $30 million in three rounds of venture capital funding leading up to a June 12 announcement that it had received another $11 million in a round of financing lead by Draper Fisher Jurvetson, a venture capital firm. Other investors in that round included Redpoint Ventures, Paladin Capital Group, Mellon Ventures, and Palisades Ventures. SOA Software acquired Blue Titan in May and incorporated its mediation product capable of discovering and linking different messaging systems and network protocols into Service Manager. The Blue Titan acquisition put it on a footing to compete with Hewlett Packard's combination of Mercury performance management software and Systinet service-building framework acquisitions. SOA Software competes as well with another market leader, WebMethods, which acquired UDDI registry firm Infravio. In August, another competitor, BEA Systems, acquired metadata repository supplier Flashline.

Concern about services management has mushroomed as IT managers moved beyond the initial pilot phase of services oriented architecture and witnessed a rapid build up of services.

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