AmberPoint scales its Web services management system

AmberPoint on Monday announced an upgraded version of its Web services management software that can manage of thousands of active service-level agreements.

Version 4.3 of AmberPoint accommodates growing complexity of Web services-based systems, according to the company. The platform can manage about 10,000 agreements as opposed to the estimated limit of 500 agreements in the prior release, Version 4.0.

"Whereas applications that were deployed maybe early in the year oftentimes had a half-dozen or a dozen services and maybe 50 to 100 active users, we're now seeing systems being called on to manage 100 services and 10,000 active service agreements," said Ed Horst, vice president of marketing at AmberPoint.

Improvements in Version 4.3 apply to the line of products in the AmberPoint system, including Service Level Manager, Exception Manager, and AmberPoint Management Foundation. AmberPoint's focus with its software is enabling service-oriented architectures.

Also featured in Version 4.3 is a set of technologies to make it easier to manage the system. Included is the ability to recover management information. If a disk crashes or the data becomes corrupted, data can be regenerated from redundant copies of the management database while the rest of the system continues working.

Automatic discovery of services dependency tracking in AmberPoint 4.3 enables the location of services in an automatic fashion, without having to first register the service, Horst said. Examples of discoverable services could be claims processing or inventory systems. "Now, we can automatically discover that service and say, 'Hey, would you like us to manage that,' " Horst said.

Service virtualization in Version 4.3 enables creation of a virtual service that utilizes only parts of underlying services, such as exposing only two operations in a service that has 20 operations. Also, algorithms in the product have been changed to perform more operations in memory and cut down on disk traffic, Horst said.

Retailer Cole National has been using AmberPoint to guarantee service levels of Web services. A user at the company, Mark Fodor, director of e-business at the company, cited benefits of reliability, scalability, and fine-tuning of management capabilities to precise timeframes.

"We're beyond the hype of Web services. We're in full production mode with it, so we needed something that could help us manage our SOA," Fodor said.

AmberPoint, with release 4.3, is responding to the demand for increased management of multiple Web services, said analyst Tom Rhinelander, of New Rowley Group. "As Web services start to proliferate, people start to lose track of what's out there," Rhinelander said. With the new release, AmberPoint is addressing real-world concerns of SOAs such as failover and fault tolerance, he said.

AmberPoint in conjunction with the release also plans to release its Oblix interface integration, to allow for Oblix security technologies to function within AmberPoint.

Shipping next quarter, AmberPoint 4.3 starts in price at US$25,000.

The company on Monday will tout the securing of US$8.2 million in venture capital funding, bringing the company's capital raised to a total of US$30.8 million. This funding is evidence that AmberPoint is able to go it alone without needing to consolidate with another vendor in the Web services management market, Horst said.

AmberPoint's announcement follows by one week the unveiling of rival Actional Corp.'s latest Web services management offering, Version 5.1, which focuses on managing other types of services in addition to Web services.

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