WebMethods buys semantic metadata technology for SOA

With a focus on SOA, webMethods on Monday announced its acquisition of technology assets from Cerebra for use as a federated metadata repository. The repository will be featured in the webMethods Fabric business process management and integration in platform in version 7.0 of Fabric this December.

The Cerebra technology will provide users with greater visibility and more understanding of available software assets and associated metadata histories, webMethods said. Cerebra has offered semantic metadata management through which semantic information boosts the understanding of metadata by providing additional context to meaning and usage. Semantic information documents interrelationships between assets to give users a clear understanding of operational dependencies and impacts of planned changes.

WebMethods had been accessing the Cerebra technology through an OEM arrangement but had not yet included it in Fabric. The company decided the technology to be core and decided to acquire it, said Marc Breissinger, webMethods CTO.

The repository will hold information about different assets and components that go into creating a business process solution in an SOA based on Fabric, Breissinger said.

"What the metadata repository allows us to do is extract information about the syntax and semantics of all those disparate components and analyze the relationships between all of those to give us very rich and deep visibility into the complete platform that [a user has]," Breissinger said. WebMethods views metadata as a way to unite the concepts of SOA and business process management, he said.

The Cerebra technology helps match services that can be connected, said Breissinger. "We're making reuse much easier."

Metadata management assists with the goal of making changes easy in an SOA, according to analyst Maureen Fleming, program director for Business Process Automation and Application Deployment, at IDC. "The use of metadata to create a change roadmap is critical," Fleming said in an email. "It provides visibility into all the interdependencies within an application system. WebMethods gets this capability with the Cerebra acquisition."

The repository conforms to the W3C Resource Description Framework and Web Ontology Language. WebMethods did not release the sale price it paid for the Cerebra assets, but said it acquired substantially all of the assets of Cerebra.

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