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WebMethods Layers Process Management Over Integration Platform

The upgrade to Fabric 7 takes the software suite into the area of business-process management by layering capabilities on top of the application integration platform.

WebMethods Inc. has built process design, deployment, and monitoring on top of its integration platform Fabric, and has opened up the software suite to business analysts.

Fabric 7 was unveiled Tuesday at WebMethod's Integration World user conference in Washington, D.C. The major upgrade takes the suite into the area of business-process management by layering capabilities on top of the application integration platform of the previous version.

WebMethods has built the suite to provide customers with the ability to design a business process on top of an integration project, such as including partner software in a supply chain, deploying the process, and then monitoring it throughout the lifecycle, Kristin Muhlner, executive VP for product development at WebMethods, said. Rather than look at just integration points, Fabric 7 presents a full view of an automated process.

"It's about looking at your business the way your customer does, as opposed to individual silos such as sales, inventory management, and distribution," Muhlner said. "Process integration allows WebMethods customers to implement solutions that support the way their customers see them."

The way the customers sees a process is at the beginning, when placing an order online, for example, and at the end, when the goods are delivered. Fabric 7 deals with those two points, as well as everything in between.

Among the new components is an Eclipse-based toolset that lets business analysts collaborate with developers on process modeling and workflow design without knowing code. Users can collaboratively depict each component in a process—models, swim lanes, key performance indicator trees, step transitions, and user interfaces—and then configure them into the business task.

The toolset provides a drag-and-drop library of more than 150 user interface controls that support Ajax for building rich clients. Fabric 7 also incorporates a rules engine from Fair Isaac for business analysts to create, manage, and modify rules from their desktops.

The suite also includes a semantic metadata library for storing all assets built within the platform. The library, which leverages the Resource Description Framework and the Web Ontology Language, tracks dependencies and relationships between IT assets, so users can determine the full impact of changes.

Once processes are deployed, the upgrade offers business activity monitoring tools that include a 3D graphical interface for identifying system problems, determining root causes, and taking corrective actions. Automated alerts are available to warn of non-compliance of service-level agreements.

In addition to Fabric 7, WebMethods introduced on Tuesday two products for governance of service-oriented architectures. X-Broker and X-Registry, the result of the recent acquisition of Infravio, provide lifecycle management and policy enforcement, and an integrated registry/repository, respectively.

The Fabric v7.0 product suite is scheduled to ship in December. Pricing wasn't disclosed.

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