Startup looks to provide security for Web services

Looking to add security and reliable messaging for Web services and existing infrastructures, Kenamea Inc. made its software commercially available on Monday.

The San Francisco-based startup is pushing what it calls an application network, or a platform for security and reliable messaging between enterprise systems, according to Chief Executive Officer (CEO) John Blair. "It enables you to put Web services out in the cloud safely and reliably," Blair said.

With Kenamea Application Network software, the company is targeting customers that are preparing for Web services, particularly those building applications that will be accessible across the Internet.

The software enables disparate systems, J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition), and COM (Component Object Model)-based systems to securely and reliably communicate with each other which, in turn, prepares them for access via the Web services model of any device supporting SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) and XML (Extensible Markup Language).

"We've had behind the firewall security and reliability for years -- this is about bringing that onto the Internet in a way that used to stop at the firewall," Blair added.

Kenamea Application Network is available as a service that runs on proprietary messaging servers, but does not require additional communications hardware inside the corporate firewall.

The company joins several startups hopping into the nascent Web services gold rush, such as Grand Central, Avinon, Velocigen, LogicLibrary, Curl, and Epicentric -- each of which are looking to fill in different niches not yet addressed by the major Web services infrastructure providers - as well as IBM, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard and Sun Microsystems.

"For right now they have something above and beyond what is available from others, such as Sun or Microsoft, [but] I think that it is always possible for a platform vendor to choose to incorporate favorably received features into their platform," said Amy Wohl, president of consulting firm Wohl Associates in Narberth, Pennsylvania.

Mark Driver, an analyst at Stamford, Connecticut-based Gartner, said that as with most startups, Kenamea fills a technology need that may be solved with products from the bigger vendors, or even with standards. Driver added, however, that Kenamea has a good two years, and perhaps three years, before that will happen, if it happens at all.

"[Kenamea might] establish itself as an early market leader and leverage close partnerships with larger vendors -- for example Sun, Oracle, IBM, and Microsoft -- over time and remain a best-of-breed choice," Driver said.

The software is now commercially available. Blair said that it has been in pilot testing for more than 6 months.

Kenamea was founded in August 9 by John Blair and Bob Pasker. Prior to founding the company, Blair was a partner at Regis McKenna, and Pasker co-founded WebLogic and later sold it to BEA Systems.

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