Iona, Intel Team on Web Services Tool

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2003-03-12

Iona, Intel Team on Web Services Tool

Iona Technologies Inc. has announced its Mobile Orchestrator, a Web services-based business process integration tool built in alliance with Intel Corp. to support Intels Centrino mobile technology.

Ionas Mobile Orchestrator fits into Intels Occasionally Connected Computing model in that it is a "store-and-forward" Web services application that enables mobile workers to work just as efficiently while connected to a network as when not, Iona officials said. Iona, based in Dublin, Ireland, with U.S. headquarters in Waltham, Mass., announced the Mobile Orchestrator Monday.

When not connected to a network, users can use the Mobile Orchestrator from a Centrino-based notebook or platform to work in enterprise applications. The Iona technology will save all the users work and then when the wireless-enabled Centrino device detects a Wi-Fi network or the Mobile Orchestrator hosting device is connected to a wired network, it synchronizes all the users offline with the current online production environment.

The Centrino platform consists of a next-generation Intel motherboard, a chip set and wireless network technology. Intel will formally announce the Centrino family of products at an event in New York Wednesday. Iona will be showcased among the software solutions supporting the launch, sources said.

Ron Schmelzer, an analyst with ZapThink LLC, said: "Well, IONA has finally hit upon a less-crowded segment of the market to focus their attention on, and we at ZapThink think they have a good chance here. The story is fairly clear: disconnected or sometimes-connected devices such as laptops, mobile phones, PDAs and other devices interact with Web Services differently than those always on the network. Basically, there needs to be a way to orchestrate long-running transactions over limited bandwidth and limited interaction capabilities. The traditional app server infrastructure and set of products coming out of Microsoft, BEA and IBM are not appropriate for this environment...Its possible that the other vendors will come to the realization that they too need to play in this space, but for now, IONA has an advantage they can hopefully hold onto."

Ionas Mobile Orchestrator solution features three main parts: the Iona Orchestrator Studio development environment, for building Web services orchestrations and defining adapters to data sources; the Orchestrator Mobile Client; and the Orchestrator Server.

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"Orchestrator orchestrates these [business] processes," said Patrick OBrien, Ionas vice president of corporate strategy. "Youre not always connected so you have move in the background and queue up."

OBrien said Iona bundles Simple Object Access Protocol requests into XML documents as part of the Web services process integration solution. "It really is more of a store-and-forward model," he said.

Intel, which has been an Iona partner for about four years and also has invested in the company, needed applications to support its Centrino launch, sources said.

Iona then developed what eventually became the Mobile Orchestrator as a proof-of-concept solution to demonstrate how to do store-and-forward Web services over the Internet, sources said.

Mobile Orchestrator is based on Ionas Adaptive Runtime Technology (ART) framework, which is a modular architecture that provides the framework for distributed enterprise applications and services written in Java technology or C++ or supporting the Common Object Request Broker Architecture.

Iona had been working on an asynchronous Web services solution, and the Intel opportunity provided a perfect fit for the companys existing technology foundation and an opportunity to leverage its ART framework.

"You need a range of solutions, and behind it all is our infrastructure," OBrien said. "ART is the underpinning of this effort and weve leveraged that infrastructure."

OBrien said the types of applications the Mobile Orchestrator is well suited to include sales force automation and customer service and relationship enhancing solutions.

The company will focus on system integrators and value-added resellers to take the product to market, OBrien said. "Well be selling this through a different group of people," he said.

Ionas Mobile Orchestrator will ship on March 21 and will run about $1,800 per CPU for the Server component, $1,500 per developer for the Studio component, and pricing for the Client component will be based on volume, OBrien said.

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