Spec Links Management Apps

OMI enables enterprises to communicate SLAs electronically with partners.

Application integration software, which has until now focused on linking enterprise and online trading applications, is entering a new phase of development with the introduction last week of a specification for integrating systems management software.

Open Management Interface, developed by WebMethods Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co., lets a company communicate SLAs (service-level agreements) electronically with its partners and suppliers.

OMI is the first half of WebMethods Global Business Visibility Initiative for combining business process management with enterprise integration. The second piece of the Fairfax, Va., companys initiative is Global Visibility Workbench, which lets nonprogrammers design business views and companies gather metrics across applications, rather than gathering point-to-point data from individual apps.

That offering will be bundled with Version 5.0 of WebMethods integration platform, due in November. OMI will be added to the platform by years end.

Leading systems management software vendors plan product updates that support the OMI spec, which is due by years end.

Within nine months, HP, of Palo Alto, Calif., will release an OpenView agent to connect to WebMethods. Houston-based BMC Software Inc. will release in the first quarter of next year Patrol for WebMethods, which will manage a process that WebMethods brings up.

Computer Associates International Inc., of Islandia, N.Y., is developing two products—Unicenter Service Level Manager and Unicenter Network and Systems Management—that together manage the environment from the business process through the IT infrastructure and wrap that with a service-level management ability, officials said.

Officials at Tivoli Systems Inc., in Austin, Texas, said their company will release Tivoli Manager for WebMethods next year.

While some of WebMethods integration software competitors, such as SeeBeyond Technology Corp. and Vitria Technology Inc., provide some connectivity to systems management applications with SNMP, some IT managers see OMI as a welcome development.

"Larger enterprises that are engaged in a number of e-business initiatives ... dont realize that there is a lot of exposure when they sign these service-level agreements, how kind of cobbled together their strategies are for dealing with [the agreements]. To the extent that all apps can be plugged in to give a dashboard approach, its good news for big customers," said Steve Wigginton, executive vice president of marketing, operations and development at Neoforma Inc. The San Jose, Calif., company builds and operates health care e-marketplaces and uses WebMethods technology for data translation. "Everything youve bought, which never really did work, can now be threaded together to work. Thats pretty compelling," Wigginton said.