Weaving Web Services

Composite, Iona, WebMethods look to distributed model.

Enterprise IT departments seeking tools to pool their Web services into an integrated collection—called a services-oriented architecture—can turn to new and upcoming offerings from startup Composite Software Inc., Iona Technologies plc. and WebMethods Inc.

Each company wants to move application integration beyond centrally managed, point-to-point linkages to a more distributed model.

"If you want legacy data to participate in a new world where everything looks like a service, you have to put a service infrastructure in front of the data," said Jim Green, Composite CEO and former chief technology officer at WebMethods.

Composite last week rolled out its namesake Information Server technology, which officials said is the companys first step in creating a data services grid that makes data available ubiquitously via Web services-enabled application integration.

Information Server collects data from any data source, aggregates it into a Composite View and delivers it to developers in any format requested. Views provide composite information that users can save, reuse and build on. Composite, of San Mateo, Calif., over the next 12 months will enable Composite Views to interact with any server and any location, creating a data grid, Green said.

Life Time Fitness Inc., of Eden Prairie, Minn., uses Composites Information Server to centralize and integrate data from disparate systems and divisions.

"This is one of those rare situations where we looked at this and said, This is huge," said Wesley Bertch, director of software operations. "This is going to be a huge breakthrough in the world of Web services, integration and data federation. Being able to run those queries efficiently, and being able to connect the data, [Composite] has just pushed the whole industry to a new plateau."

Separately, Ionas new Artix family of services-oriented integration products, which will be unveiled this week, enable enterprises to renovate existing applications and IT assets and consolidate legacy middleware. Artix lets users establish Web Services Description Language service contracts to ensure the appropriate quality of service, officials said.

Artix Relay, which provides interoperability among middleware systems, and Artix Encompass, which facilitates the use of enterprise Web services and prepares existing applications to run across platforms, are available now. Two other modules—Artix Migrate, for consolidating legacy middleware with new systems, and Artix Mainframe, for exposing CICS and IMS transactions as Web services—will be available by years end, said officials, in Waltham, Mass.

Meanwhile, WebMethods, of Fairfax, Va., last week rolled out its services- oriented architecture integration offering: WebMethods Fabric. It leans heavily on the acquisitions of three companies—The Mind Electric Inc., DataChannel and The Dante Group Inc.—which provide a Web services platform, portal technology and business activity monitoring capabilities, respectively. WebMethods Fabric has a framework for connecting and managing Java and Microsoft Corp. .Net applications, as well as legacy software.