IBM Puts SOA in Its Sights

Announcements include new offerings, services.

As part of a sweeping realignment of its software and related services portfolio—geared now more than ever toward enabling SOA implementations—IBM announced last week a slew of new and enhanced software offerings from its WebSphere integration portfolio; a tighter integration between WebSphere, Rational and Tivoli products; and new services to support service-oriented architecture deployments.

The rationale for the realignment is based on market demands, according to Steve Mills, senior vice president and group executive of IBMs Software Group.

"Medium and large companies run hundreds if not thousands of applications that they cant rip and replace," said Mills during a conference call with members of the press. "They need to leverage what they have and get applications to work as a service—which is where the whole idea of SOA comes into play. Its a statement of where businesses are trying to get."

The new offerings are based on four software fundamentals: modeling, assembling, deploying and managing a set of capabilities in an SOA.

To model SOAs, IBM announced its WebSphere Business Modeler, a tool that enables business and IT users to model and design process flows before theyre deployed.

To assemble an SOA, IBM announced the WebSphere Integration Developer, an Eclipse-based application development tool thats used to build composite applications based on specific business processes. In this same vein, IBM also introduced an upgraded version of its Rational Application Developer software that helps developers script together services that are modeled with the Business Modeler.

For more ease in SOA deployments, IBM announced the WebSphere ESB, which uses some components of IBMs WebSphere application server and is geared toward the integration of Web-services-based applications.

"It allows all the pieces of the infrastructure and architecture to play," said Robert LaBlanc, general manger for WebSphere, in Armonk, N.Y.

IBM also announced several other new and upgraded tools: the new WebSphere Process Server, which helps do the choreography around a set of business processes, data and events, and WebSphere Business Monitor, which helps monitor process performance and key performance indicators such as transaction volume.

To help users get started with SOA initiatives, IBM also announced a handful of new services, including one to help users comply with governance issues using an SOA; new SOA Industry Teams created around specific vertical industries such as communications and financial services; and the Global Services SOA Foundation, which IBM plans to use to showcase its Common Services Delivery Platform, a repository of reusable components based on IBM and third-party applications.