Webmethods Moves Toward The SOA Promised Land - InformationWeek

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11/12/2006
08:05 PM
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Webmethods Moves Toward The SOA Promised Land

WebMethods is a good example of an old-time enterprise application integration vendor that's moving as fast as possible to meet the rising demand for tools to build service-oriented architectures. A form of distributed computing, SOAs make it possible to reuse applications in multiple business processes. This bit of magic is usually performed through the use of interfaces that leverage XML standards.

WebMethods is a good example of an old-time enterprise application integration vendor that's moving as fast as possible to meet the rising demand for tools to build service-oriented architectures. A form of distributed computing, SOAs make it possible to reuse applications in multiple business processes. This bit of magic is usually performed through the use of interfaces that leverage XML standards.WebMethods last week unveiled at its Integration World user conference the first major upgrade of its Fabric integration platform since acquiring Infravio in September. The latter company provided a full registry/repository, and competed with Systinet, which was acquired by Mercury Interactive early this year. Hewlett-Packard acquired Mercury this month.

WebMethods has integrated Infravio technology with Fabric 7, and has embedded in the platform the metadata repository WebMethods acquired in the summer with the purchase of Cerebra. Repositories are expected to play a critical role in managing SOA systems as they move beyond pilot projects to full-blown networks of hundreds, or even thousands, of applications, data sources, business rules, and process models.

WebMethods also has added to its platform a layer of technology for automating processes through systems integration and workflow. The new technologies include tools for workflow design and process modeling and execution, as well as business activity monitoring.

WebMethods' acquisition binge follows a consolidation trend within the SOA market. Other examples this year include BEA Systems' acquisition of Fuego and IBM's purchase of Webify Solutions.

But underlying WebMethods' strategy, beyond following a hot trend in application integration, is to boost its lagging license revenues. In the second fiscal quarter ended Sept. 30, license revenues amounted to less than 40 percent of it total revenue of $50.8 million. The rest of the money mostly came from maintenance and services. In addition, the company reported a loss for the quarter.

By purchasing Infravio, WebMethods gained its customers, and picked up technology that broadened its platform's capabilities and bettered its chances of adding new customers, Ron Schmelzer, analyst for ZapThink LLC said.

"If they hadn't added all this technology, they would have looked like a vendor in a market (EAI) that had reached a plateau," Schmelzer said.

The question now is whether WebMethods can reverse its financial performance, and execute successfully on its SOA/process management strategy. Standing in its way will be stiff competition from rivals IBM, Tibco Software and Vitria Technology.

Drop me an email to let me know what you think.

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