SOA Software readies tool to manage multiple ESBs

SOA tools are being unveiled this week by SOA Software, Systinet, and Mindreef, including SOA Software's tool to manage many enterprise service buses (ESB) in a single environment.

SOA Software is announcing Network Director version 4.0, while Systinet is unveling Policy Manager 2.0, for codifying policies. Mindreef is shipping SOAPscope Server 5.2, for testing SOA.

The new version of Network Director is intended to ensure interoperability and policy compliance for ESBs from many vendors. Disparate ESB platforms will implement centrally defined policies and interoperate to provide a secure messaging environment.

"You need to make sure that all the ESBs in the enterprise participate in a common security and monitoring framework," said Ian Goldsmith, vice president of marketing at SOA Software. Network Director version 4.0 manages and provides security for single ESBs and manages interactions between multiple ESBs.

Labeled an "ESB federation product" by SOA Software, Network Director combines the proxy component from Blue Titan's older Network Director technology with the management subsystem from SOA Software's Service Director offering. SOA Software acquired Network Director when it bought Blue Titan last month. The proxy handles message-routing and mediation.

In previous incarnations, Network Director was basically a Web services router, Goldsmith said.

Multiple ESBs in an environment is becoming the norm, he said. Users will be getting them from all their platform vendors including Oracle, BEA Systems, and Microsoft, even if the products themselves are not called an ESB, said Goldsmith.

"SOA Software's Network Director looks like middleware for your middleware play. ESBs for ESBs, enterprise middleware integration. A plot that never ends," said Ronald Schmelzer, senior analyst at ZapThink, in an email.

"But Network Director obviates the need for an ESB in the first place -- if you have proper service intermediation, who needs an ESB in the first place?" Schmelzer asked. ZapThink has not liked the ESB category because it looked like an extraneous and unnecessary piece of middleware that only perpetuated the integration problem, he said.

Network Director 4.0 will be released in July. Starting price will be US$50,000.

Systinet Policy Manager 2.0, available now, is part of Systinet's governance platform. It enables development of codified policies to enforce consistency across an SOA and associates policies with business services. It also runs conformance checks. "It enables you to automate conformance-checking of your services before they are put into production," said Jake Sorofman, vice president of product marketing at Systinet.

Policy Manager also enables management of policy artifacts such as actual policy documents. The product shares policies with runtime enforcement tools from companies such as AmberPoint and Actional.

"[Policy Manager is] essentially a policy engine that enables you to enforce your policies," Sorofman said. HIPAA compliance is one particular use for Policy Manager, which features an instance of Systinet's repository

Version 2.0 highlights include a wizard-driven process for building and enforcing policies. Richer diagnostics to investigate service failures also is featured.

A set of pre-built policies for best practices is included and recommended as a base set of policies. These policies cover areas such as consistency, meta data, and XML encryption.

Less-technical persons such as business analysts can use the new version of Policy Manager, Sorofman said.

Mindreef's SOAPscope Server 5.2 tests and verifies the quality of SOA, the company said. Previously known as Mindreef Coral, the newly named SOAPscope Server, the product has been used to build, test, and maintain Web services and SOA.

With SOAPscope Server, changes to components such as code, metadata, or a policy can be tested against other components that interoperate with them prior to re-entering the ecosystem.

New features in SOAPscope Server 5.2 include Linux support; broader database implementations )with support for databases such as MySQL and Oracle), and extended browser use, with support for Internet Explorer 7.2 and Firefox 1.5.

LDAP support in version 5.2 enables administrators to use an LDAP directory to authenticate SOAPscope users.

Other features include the ability to reserve licenses for a community port or for processes utilizing an API. The product can also ensure that licenses are available to required team members or technologies. Support for very large messages and the ability to upload and download multiple Mindreef Shared Workspaces are also featured. Shared Workspaces enables reproducing of a Web services scenario.

SOAPscope Server 5.2 is available in several configurations, beginning with five concurrent licenses per server for US$3,995. This is the Team Edition of the product. Perpetual licensing is also available.

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