IBM integrates WebSphere with Bowstreet

It's only Wednesday and already this has been a busy week for IBM Corp.'s Web services efforts. Just one day after Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM announced that it bought CrossWorlds Software Inc. to beef up its integration capabilities for Web services, the company struck a deal with Bowstreet Software Inc. that will see the latter's Business Web Factory more tightly tied to the WebSphere application server.

IBM's WebSphere is the foundation of the company's Web services offerings, and by running on top of that, Bowstreet's Business Web Factory enables customers to pull various applications and components from legacy systems, other services within an enterprise, and third-party Web services together and assemble them into composite Web services applications, said Portsmouth, N.H.-based Bowstreet officials.

On Tuesday IBM, which is one of the major companies behind the Web services movement, bought CrossWorlds for its industry-specific EAI (enterprise application integration) middleware.

Analysts said that IBM made the US$129 million acquisition to better compete with the likes of Microsoft Corp.'s .Net initiative and BEA Systems Inc.'s J2EE-based stack for building and deploying Web services.

Bowstreet's software, for its part, is somewhat agnostic in that it runs on other application server stacks, the mainstays for building and deploying Web services, notably that from BEA.

Several industry observers pointed out that the promise of Web services lies in integrating systems so that all of a corporation's data, including that residing in legacy systems and newer systems, can be presented via a Web-based interface.

"Web services is about exposing the infrastructure, so others can tap into it," said Shawn Willett, a principal analyst at Sterling, Va.-based consultancy Current Analysis Inc.

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