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IBM rallies behind SOA technology

Big Blue executives announce new services fabric and SOA registry/repository for WebSphere, along with new BPM offerings.

IBM executives held a teleconference Tuesday to declare "the entire IBM company is now rallying behind SOA," and announced new WebSphere offerings adding industry-specific services and governance capabilities to their product line.

The new products, WebSphere Business Services Fabric and WebSphere Registry and Repository, were introduced by Steve Mills, senior vice president and group executive for IBM Software. He noted that they are based largely on the integration of technology the company obtained in its recent acquisitions of Webify in August and BuildForge in May.

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The business services fabric, based on the assets acquired from Webify, provides prebuilt, customizable service-oriented architecture (SOA) assets, semantic models and policies, Mills said. It supports industry and semantic standards including ACORD for the insurance industry and HIPAA for health care. Mills promised that additional industry-specific support is in the works.

The new WebSphere Registry and Repository (WSRR) product is based on BuildForge technology, recently integrated into IBM Rational as Rational BuildForge. Also announced were two other Rational offerings, Rational ClearQuest and Rational Software Architect. Mills said these products are designed to provide governance to SOA implementations and to help developers manage Web services and shared business processes across the development lifecycle.

"WebSphere Business Services Fabric and WebSphere Registry and Repository, along with a broad range of connectors and adapters we've produced make it possible for customers to interface and integrate the applications they already have, and get applications, even those which historically may have been viewed as monolithic, actually get them to behave in a style consistent with SOA," Mills said.

Integrating legacy application into SOA is important, he said, because businesses need to include existing applications they rely on into any new architecture. From his point of view, SOA is basically about application integration.

"SOA is a style," Mills said. "It's a style of building applications. It's a style of integrating applications. It's not about replacing the customers existing software infrastructure. It's about integrating together what they have."

To that end, this week's announcement was covered both new and enhanced products as well as additional services including:

  • WebSphere Business Modeler, a tool to help customers model processes to identify bottlenecks and other performance problems.
  • BPM Methodology to provide business process management best practices and in-depth knowledge, including a range of existing BPM methodologies.
  • BPM Competency Center, a services offering designed to provide expert advice from IBM experts as well as its business partners.
  • WebSphere Business Monitor, a tool designed to identify business events that impact performance.
  • IBM Workplace Dashboard Framework, a tool for creating dashboards that provide a view of the overall business processes so they can be aligned with business goals.

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