Serena to Unveil Vail

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2007-08-17 Print this article Print

SAN MATEO, Calif.—Serena Software next month will unveil Vail, its business mashup tool, along with a software-as-a-service offering that will take advantage of the benefits of service-oriented architectures. Serena, known for its change management and source code control solutions in the ALM (application lifecycle management) space, is entering the SAAS business, a la However, rather then promoting a development platform that requires professional programmers like Salesforce with its Apex language, Serena is delivering a GUI-based tool for non-programmers.
In a meeting at Serenas headquarters here, CEO Jeremy Burton and Rene Bonvanie, senior vice president for worldwide marketing, partner programs and online services, gave eWEEK the first public look at a prototype of the technology to come, known as Vail.
"When you start up the tool, it looks a lot like Microsoft Office," Burton said. "And we think the people who use this will be folks like the power users of Office." The tool has a Mashup Explorer—a Google gadgets-like designer—and "you build your process flow, you design your forms and you complete your application and deploy it up to the cloud," Burton said. "Deploying up to the cloud for us is a very simple thing. Basically off the menu you hit deploy. And our Serena On Demand applications will run at OpSource in their data centers down in Santa Clara, [Calif]." Burton said Serena will offer Vail so that business users who work with the business processes day in and day out will be able to quickly define an extension to the process flow, mash it up with something like the Salesforce interfaces, "deploy it out to the cloud and theyre not even bothering the IT guys." He said Serena plans to formally introduce the technology in September. "By the end of the year, the Mashup Composer will be out in production and the online service will be in beta," he said. "By early next year well be out there running. Weve got a super aggressive timeline." Click here to read more about security in the cloud. Most folks would not expect something like this to come from Serena, Burton said. "Weve kind of got the sleepy change management reputation," he said. However, Serena is not giving up its ALM business, and even its legacy of delivering solutions for the mainframe will pay off, Burton said. "The legacy business has some role to play because we have several interfaces into the mainframe world already built up and pre-canned that we can provide for users to mash up," he said. Burton said when he interviewed for the job as CEO of Serena—a post hes held since February—one of the first things he asked to do was look at the technology. "The guys pulled out this project called Vail that they were working on at the time," he said. "The story behind the story on this is that some years ago, Serena built some [traditional ALM] applications—our defect tracking and help desk and incident management applications. These things we allowed folks to customize the applications with a little tool called TeamTrack that was all intertwined with it." TeamTrack enabled users to build small functional applications, a use Serena had not envisioned for the technology. Some Serena developers decided they could package the tool, "but not target it at programmers but at semi-technical guys," Burton said. "They had been working on this thing for a couple of years and when they pulled it up, I was like: Oh my, where did this come from? But by and large, most folks in Serena I dont think knew what they had, and they brought it up to date with SOA and Web services support, and put this great visual user interface on it." Page 2: Serena to Unveil Vail

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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