EAI Vendors Vie on Web Services

IBM, Tibco, SeeBeyond target business processes.

EAI software vendors IBM, Tibco Software Inc. and SeeBeyond Technologies Inc. are extending their offerings to include Web service brokering tools.

Each currently is readying software that it said will reduce the number of steps it takes for a developer to present business processes as Web services. Until now, these companies enterprise application integration software connected applications among corporate departments and partners.

IBM will use the business process integration technology it will gain from its acquisition of CrossWorlds Software Inc., due to close early next quarter, to further its Web services offerings. By late next year, IBM, of Armonk, N.Y., will introduce a product that combines CrossWorlds capabilities with its own WebSphere application server and MQSeries messaging middleware into a single environment. In this environment, developers will use the same J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition) tools to expose the business processes of an application and incorporate them in new Web services.

Jim Haney, vice president of architecture at Whirlpool Corp., said he likes the fact that IBMs messaging middleware will be an integral part of the package. "Ill have to spend less time to integrate other vendors tools to basically put the environment in to do a Web service than to take a business process and Webify it," said Haney, in Benton Harbor, Mich.

Tibco is taking a different tack. Officials at the Palo Alto, Calif., company said that with their new BusinessWorks platform, which will begin shipping this week, developers wont need to write any new code to expose their applications as Web services. Instead, also using J2EE tools, developers will uncover the application code describing the business process and present it directly as a Web service.

In addition to Web services support, BusinessWorks scales down EAI, making it easier to implement for companies without deep EAI knowledge by providing integration modeling templates. It adds a dashboard for managing the life cycle of integration projects.

Similarly, SeeBeyond, of Redwood Shores, Calif., plans to release in the first half of next year a Web service tool kit that supports Web Services Definition Language. The kit will let developers store business processes as services in a repository, officials said. Late next year, SeeBeyond will add more support for Universal Description, Discovery and Integration, which can also act as a repository for Web services.

Terry Tutt, senior architect at TNT Logistics North America Inc., is building his own Web services system from scratch. Tutt said solutions such as BusinessWorks are better suited for shops unfamiliar with more complicated integration tools. But they may not solve deeper issues, he said. "Are they the Web services solution? No," said Tutt, in Jacksonville, Fla. "They will provide a segment of viable Web services."