WebMethods serves up management product

WebMethods on Monday will unveil a management product that ties the worlds of application and process integration to traditional systems management.

WebMethods Manager bears the mark of the integration stalwart's work around OMI (Object Management Interface), a specification it developed with Hewlett-Packard Co. to provide a standard for cross-monitoring applications and network performance. OMI gives users more granular diagnostic abilities, letting them, for example, assess how a server failure is impacting the execution of a particular business process such as "place customer order," said Jim Iverson, director of product marketing at the Fairfax, Va.-based company.

The company has inked partnerships with the Big Four systems management vendors, Computer Associates International Inc., HP, BMC Software Inc., and Tivoli Systems Inc., all of whom have or will be infusing their management consoles with OMI support, Iverson said.

"WebMethods Manager is designed to bridge the gap that exists between managing physical assets of architecture, like your servers and network, and also seeing how individual business processes are actually running," said Iverson.

OMI communicates information about the health and status of business processes and their underlying integrations to a server via SOAP messages. Users can monitor those processes from a webMethods-based console or directly from the systems management consoles of the four partners above, according to webMethods.

Other features include the ability to load balance business processes across particular network devices, based on traffic, officials said.

The solution, which includes the management tool, server, and console, will be available on Thursday and is priced at US$250,000.

Iverson said webMethods Manager further positions the company for the emerging BAM (business activity monitoring) market, a hybrid of real-time application integration, business intelligence and analytics that lets users respond to changes in their business processes on the fly.

"It's still early, but BAM promises to give some real-time insight into what is going on in business processes," said Iverson, citing the company's existing BAM partnership with data management player Informatica.

Other EAI vendors such as Tibco and Vitria feature management solutions to supervise their integration platforms and report on application and process errors, but none is tied so tightly to systems management, according to industry observers.

"There are a lot of variables that come into play when there's an error, and it's not always a problem with your EAI tools," said Shawn Willett, principal analyst at Sterling, Va.-based Current Analysis. "So I think it's good that [users] can view things through the physical console as well."

On the flip side, however, no other vendors in the integration space have thrown their backing behind OMI, making it a webMethods-only spec and relegating the Manager product of use primarily to companies on the webMethods EAI platform.

"I don't think the OMI spec is really going anywhere," said Willett.

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