Web Services Get Managed

App from startup to analyze infrastructure components.

As more companies roll out web services as a way to simplify integration of existing systems, several companies are developing tools to help users monitor and manage those services.

One in particular, startup Service Integrity Inc., this week will expand the fledgling field of tools by one with a product designed to show how Web services applications are behaving in production.

The Newton, Mass., companys SIFT (service instrumentation, filtering and tracking) tool monitors and analyzes the performance of transactions that use Web services and pinpoints the source of performance problems across each component in the Web services infrastructure.

SIFT includes patent-pending stream-sensing technology that taps the Simple Object Access Protocol/XML flow and gathers data about the business being transacted by a Web service. Such data is displayed in customizable dashboards.

Compared with existing tools, SIFT takes a nonintrusive approach to managing production Web services over the existing infrastructure, officials said.

"Nonintrusive means you dont have to change a line of code, you dont have to reroute or change your topology," said Jothy Rosenberg, CEO and chief technology officer of the startup. The dashboards can be customized using wizards.

Green Mountain Energy Co. used a beta version of SIFT to locate performance problems in Web services integration work. "It identified which method call was causing the slowdown and allowed developers to [fix] it," said Chris Garrick, an IT consultant at the company, in Austin, Texas.

The product is made up of a stream sensor, which runs in the application server and acts as a filter inserted into the pipeline of content processing. The sensor also analyzes streams based on a set of user-defined rules in a user desktop component that describes what data needs to be sampled. SIFT, available now, supports Microsoft Corp.s .Net on Internet Information Services.

Service Integrity is also launching a beta version that supports Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition Web services in BEA Systems Inc.s WebLogic and IBMs WebSphere Web application servers.