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Webmethods reinvents itself for long-term growth

WebMethods has expanded its portfolio to include offerings in the enterprise service-oriented architecture, business activity monitoring and portal spaces.

The technologies, which will be incorporated in products called WebMethods Fabric, WebMethods Portal and WebMethods Dashboard, come hot on the heels of WebMethods' acquisitions of The Mind Electric (enterprise service oriented architecture), The Dante Group (business activity monitoring) and DataChannel (portals) last month. The offerings will complement the capabilities of the company's flagship integration platform.

WebMethods is also rebranding itself as a web services infrastructure company, said chief executive officer and chairman Phillip Merrick.

Web services reduce companies' dependence on proprietary message-oriented middleware (MOM). Crucial to this is the service-oriented architecture or SOA which involves making applications inside the enterprise available to other applications by wrapping them in web services interfaces. Web services wrappers let enterprise developers create simple application-to-application connections without using commercial middleware.

However, one of the main obstacles in the past has been the pressure on customers to make use of a proprietary approach from web services, development tools and integration technology vendors.

Gartner has said that by 2006, more than 60% of enterprises will consider SOA a guiding principle in designing their new mission-critical business applications and business processes.

"Over time, the lack of SOA will become a competitive disadvantage for more enterprises. Mainstream enterprises should invest in understanding SOA and building SOA design and development skills," said Gartner vice president and research director Yefim Natis.

The enterprise fabric approach makes achieving an ESOA-based enterprise simple by exploiting the power of any of the disparate resources that make up the enterprise and non-invasively enhancing the limitations of those same resources. The result is that all resources are not only able to participate as part of the ESOA, but they are enhanced to include capabilities such as service registration, dynamic discovery, distributed security, monitoring, auditing and clustering.

To this end, WebMethods Fabric is capable of universally linking all computing resources into a common enterprise fabric. WebMethods Fabric is built on an enterprise service-oriented architecture (ESOA), and bridges J2EE, .net and legacy systems, enabling customers to run any service, anywhere, anytime.

Melanie Liew writes for Computerworld Singapore

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