IBM eyes services provisioning role for WebSphere

IBM envisions its WebSphere application platform serving increasingly as a focal point for services provisioning.

Already in place to a degree, the Service Integration Bus paradigm anticipated by IBM will understand multiple protocols, in addition to SOAP and Web services.

"We want to go into services-oriented architectures across the enterprise, and that goes way beyond [protocols such as SOAP]," said Andre Tost, solutions architect in the IBM WebSphere Business Development organization, during a presentation at the XML Web Services One conference on Wednesday.

The Service Integration Bus would integrate applications such as portals, b-to-b interactions, Web services, and existing applications and feature a common run-time environment. JCA (Java Connector Architecture) connectors would talk to mainframes and systems such as SAP implementations, Tost said.

Additionally, IBM's Web services vision for WebSphere features client- and server-side buses, using Web Services Invocation Framework and an attendant API.

"What this is showing in the end is that we want to have a bus-based architecture," Tost said.

Also incorporated into IBM's WebSphereblueprint are grid services for providing quality-of-service resources on demand; the Eclipse development tools framework for a portal-like development environment; and J2EE.

WebSphere would serve as a messaging backbone, Tost said.

Web services would supplement, and not replace, EAI (enterprise application integration) by making EAI easier. "A lot of people say Web services will replace EAI, and that's not going to happen," Tost said.

A conference attendee said IBM's WebSphere plan could enable integration of legacy applications onto the Web.

"I work with legacy AS/400 [systems], and they haven't moved to the Web on AS/400," said Ross Millerick, principal for Systems Development Group, which provides consulting services for AS/400 systems. Enabling the integration of the AS/400 with Web-based business processes "is really exciting," Millerick said.

Also at the conference, a company official made reference to a technology called Business Process Execution Language for Web Services Java Run Time (BPWS4J), which is an internal implementation of the Business Process Execution Language for Web Services (BPEL4WS) specification proposed by IBM, Microsoft, and BEA Systems last year.

BPWS4J serves as a platform for implementing business processes written using BPEL4WS, which is intended to provide for coordination of business processes, said the official, Doug Tidwell, senior programmer and an evangelist in the IBM developerWorks organization.

BPWS4J is a technology demonstration that features Java infrastructure, he said.

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