Mindreef Tool Improves SOA Collaboration

Mindreef Coral enables users, service teams and service consumers to collaborate and share information.

Mindreef Inc. will announce Monday Mindreef Coral, a new Web services lifecycle collaboration platform for organizations building Web services and service-oriented architectures.

The Hollis, N.H., company is expected to make its announcement at the Gartner Application Integration and Web Services Summit in Orlando, Fla.

Mindreef Coral enables users, service teams and service consumers to collaborate and share information, said Frank Grossman, president and founder of Mindreef.

Mindreef allows teams to collaborate in building SOAs by fostering reuse and supplying teams with servers that can be linked together, said Jim Moskun, chief strategy officer. And Corals tools enable members to govern, test, diagnose and support Web services collaboratively.

In addition, similar to what some popular IDEs (integrated development environments) are moving to, Coral takes on a role-focused approach. The Coral tools are available to roles such as architects, managers, business analysts, developers, testers and support staff. Coral also enables roles that do not have deep XML or programming skills to perform tasks that previously required more technical skills.

/zimages/2/28571.gifSOAs are gathering steam with proposed specs. Click here to read more.

"The key thing is we allow multiple roles to collaborate on a service team," Moskun said. The Coral tools also allow collaboration between disparate teams—at the XML software level, as opposed to Microsoft Corp.s Visual Studio or IBM Rationals tools, he said.

Grossman said Coral is a server-based product with a browser-based interface, and "we provide collaboration at the XML software layer" for governance, testing, diagnostics and support.

Coral is based on Mindreefs SOAPscope diagnostic tool for Web services, Moskun said. Companies such as Wachovia, Fidelity National Financial and Charles Schwab use Mindreefs products, he said.

"We started Mindreef with the mindset of doing collaborative applications," Grossman said. "We did SOAPscope in 2002, and it was a Swiss Army knife of diagnostic features—a lot of what is in Coral now.

"However, as the Web services/SOA market has evolved, were seeing a much larger number of teams," Grossman said. "Customers need a platform to manage all the interactions."

"In moving to a Web services-based SOA, weve quickly seen the need for more formal communications as our service teams become more distributed," said Chris Brown, vice president, retail senior integration architect at Wachovia Corp., in a statement.

"One of the most challenging aspects of SOA is that it requires new levels of collaboration, and thats what Mindreef is trying to address," said Anne Thomas Manes, an analyst with the Burton Group Inc. "Unfortunately [but expectedly], Mindreef is focusing on developer collaboration, and I dont think its enough. When combined with either WebLayers or Systinet it becomes a lot more useful. But I suspect that lots of companies will be confused by the overlap."

However, Manes added: "I suspect that Mindreef will be successful, though, simply because it has tremendous mindshare in the Web services developers world. And developers will appreciate this tool."

Jason Bloomberg, an analyst with ZapThink LLC, of Waltham, Mass., said he sees where Mindreef has found a niche.

"There are a few special differentiators that distinguish Coral from their competition," Bloomberg said. "First, it provides tools for architects in different roles—enterprise architects guiding the overall SOA as well as technical architects designing the specific implementations. Secondly, its both a design time and run-time tool, and its run-time support capabilities are a clear differentiator—support personnel can use Coral to provide post-deployment support for services to users, which is a capability we havent seen anywhere else. Basically, Coral offers a seamless, collaborative end-to-end SOA governance capability."

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