WebMethods plans midmarket ESB, debuts host of add-ons

Integration software vendor WebMethods unveiled this week an array of new applications, including a forthcoming simplified product for smaller businesses and a host of functionality-extending add-ons developed through partnerships. The flurry of announcements came at WebMethods' annual user conference, Integration World, in Orlando.

WebMethods Express, a point-to-point integration tool aimed at the midmarket, will debut by the end of 2003, the company said. The software can be used on its own or combined with WebMethods JMS+, also due out by the end of the year, to form an ESB (enterprise service bus) architecture tying together message brokering with standards-based routing technology. WebMethods, headquartered in Fairfax, Virginia, declined to provide pricing details on any of its products, but a spokeswoman said WebMethods Express will be less expensive than the company's flagship WebMethods Integration Platform.

Two embedded-technology arrangements have helped WebMethods create new tools to extend the features of its integration system. Software from Defywire Inc.'s Mobility Suite powers the now-available WebMethods Mobile, which enables delivery of corporate information to mobile devices including phones, handhelds, tablets and laptops. Coupled with WebMethods' business activity monitoring software, WebMethods Mobile can offer real-time alerts on corporate IT systems.

WebMethods is also relying on a partner, Informatica Corp., for the technology underpinning its forthcoming WebMethods Dashboard, due in December. WebMethods licensed Informatica's PowerAnalyzer software for the dashboard software, which offers real-time reports and alerts on data flowing through the WebMethods Integration Platform.

WebMethods introduced at the show a new RFID (radio frequency identification) system developed in conjunction with OATSystems Inc., whose RFID application, Senseware, helps companies track supplies using the tagging technology that could eventually replace bar codes. The joint WebMethods/OATSystems offering links Senseware with back-end corporate systems, a move intended to help companies access more complete data about their inventories and supply chains.

Despite its reluctance to talk about price tags, WebMethods made one pricing announcement at the show. The company is offering customers in North America a discount on its WebMethods Portal software through March 31. The software can now be purchased for US$25,000 per server, a price WebMethods said is 50 percent less than its list cost. Another pricing option, called WebMethods Portal Quick Start, includes a license for an unlimited number of users and 80 hours of WebMethods professional services to assist with deployment for $175,000 per project.

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