Web Service Tools Extend Visibility to Browser

AmberPoint and Actional extend Web services management to the browser.

A Web services management provider is keying off a growing trend and ramping up new capabilities that extend visibility from the Web server to the browser.

AmberPoint Inc., which has tackled Web services management one problem at a time, is readying support for HTML on top of existing SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) and XML support.

The move represents a departure from the traditional monitoring of SOAP and XML traffic between Web servers and Web application servers that AmberPoint and others have been known for, said industry analyst James Kobielus, of Burton Group, in Alexandria, Va.

"The fact that these guys have only been instrumenting the back channel means theyve only been dealing with part of the problem," Kobielus said. "They havent been able to really address the performance of portal-based applications. [AmberPoint is] providing tools that allow you to instrument the back and front channel for Web services to measure performance throughout the entire distributed services infrastructure."

AmberPoint, in Oakland, Calif., next month will update its namesake software suite, which manages performance, availability and service levels for Web services based on SOAP and XML. The forthcoming releases of AmberPoints Management Foundation, Exception Manager and Service Level Manager will extend visibility into HTML front ends, including browsers or portals that access Web services.

With HTML support, AmberPoint Service Level Manager will provide end-to-end visibility into all the services and functions that add up to a business interaction initiated by a browser front end. In addition, AmberPoint Exception Manager can monitor live transactions in real time.

Meanwhile, rival Actional Corp. may not be far behind. "Well be rolling out some technology in that area fairly soon," said Daniel Foody, chief technology officer at the Mountain View, Calif., company. "We partner with a lot of vendors that have technology to monitor the Web browser side of things. A portion of that we will do through partnerships, and some of it we have ready to roll out in our products in this quarter."