WebMethods Enriches SOA

Purchase of Infravio gives company web services heft

WebMethods, which develops process integration software, announced Sept. 11 plans to acquire Infravio, a company best known for its service-oriented architecture governance repository and its work on standards-setting groups.

WebMethods will pay about $38 million for Infravio in a deal that is expected to close by the end of September. Based in Cupertino, Calif., Infravio employs 65 people, including 50 developers in Chennai, India. All its employees, including founder Srinivas Balasubramanian, will join WebMethods.

The acquisition of Infravio further expands WebMethods capabilities in the SOA world by adding a services registry and governance functionality—key capabilities as more companies move toward a services-based approach to building composite applications based on specific business processes. While many software developers have evolved to the point of providing services—components of their software available for integration with other services—there is still a growing need for the ability to register and govern the growing mass of services.

"As more groups across the enterprise adopt SOA, the need for governance becomes more acute," Miko Matsumura, vice president of marketing at Infravio, told eWeek. "This jump-starts our efforts."

Jason Bloomberg, an analyst with ZapThink, in Waltham, Mass., said WebMethods has "seen the SOA writing on the wall for a while now. As a proprietary EAI [enterprise application integration] vendor, they really have little choice but to tell the SOA story."

By acquiring Infravio, WebMethods is bringing in a clear thought leader in the SOA space, Bloomberg said.

WebMethods, of Fairfax, Va., slowly has been transitioning from its roots as an EAI company to a services integration company based on SOA standards. In October 2003, WebMethods acquired three companies that form the basis of its SOA strategy: BAM (business activity monitoring) software developer Dante Group, Web services infrastructure software maker The Mind Electric and portal builder DataChannel.

The Mind Electric turned out to be a particularly key acquisition: The companys founder and chief architect, Graham Glass, became the chief technology officer of WebMethods, and its Glue software provided WebMethods with the basis for Fabric, a platform for building and deploying distributed applications from any Java object. Glass has since left WebMethods to form a community education program called EDU 2.0.

After integrating the three companies, WebMethods announced Fabric in 2004. The company since has built on its capabilities both organically and through acquisition. In August, WebMethods bought Cerebra, a privately held company that develops semantic metadata management technology. That companys software is being embedded into the Fabric platform.

Infravio is, in a sense, the front end of WebMethods SOA-building software since SOA governance enforces the policies and procedures that determine how developers, IT staff and business users actually use services through an SOA life cycle (defined as design and run-time to ongoing changes in the system).

Infravios software will be integrated into the Fabric platform by the fourth quarter.

WebMethods-Infravio by the numbers


Size of the deal


WebMethods employees


Infravio employees


WebMethods annual revenue*

*for fiscal year ending March 31, 2006

Source: Securities and Exchange Commission filings, eWeek reporting