HP gathers support for new web specification

Hewlett-Packard has joined forces with a number of business intelligence and middleware companies to put forward a specification...

Hewlett-Packard has joined forces with a number of business intelligence and middleware companies to put forward a specification for web services management.

In a bid to provide users with the necessary tools to deploy web services in a commercial environment, HP is planning to submit a specification for managing web services to the Organisation for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (Oasis).

Supported by Ascential Software, BEA Systems, Iona, Oracle, Sun Microsystems, Tibco and webMethods, HP is hoping to break down the barriers preventing users from rolling out applications built using third-party web services. Notably missing from the line-up of supporters are IBM and Microsoft, both of which have contributed significantly to the development of web services standards.

George Bathurst, HP's service management strategy manager, said, "We want to make it easier for people to develop end-to-end service delivery." Commenting on the absence of IBM and Microsoft, Bathhurst said, "It is our aim to be open. We are working with as many people as possible."

HP's Openview is one of the leading tools for managing enterprise infrastructure. But while standards such as SNMP are available for managing the technical infrastructure, system management tools suppliers now recognise to the need to manage IT from a business process perspective.

Neil Maceiter, research director at analyst firm Ovum, said, "It would not surprise me if IBM or Computer Associates announced similar standards initiatives. I hope they submit their specifications to the same standards committee." He warned that the worst that could happen would be if companies such as CA, IBM and Microsoft ignored the work HP is doing with Oasis and attempted to create rival specifications for managing web services.

In March, Microsoft unveiled the first part of its own strategy to manage IT based on an end-to-end model. Called the System Definition Model (SDM), the basic idea is that applications will provide data about their IT needs.

Visual Studio developers will be able to write applications that include information about their operational characteristics and resource requirements, which will be buried in the application in the form of XML documents.

While Microsoft did not explicitly include web services management in the design goals for SDM, Paul Randle, Microsoft's server solutions marketing manager, said, "We are still defining the characteristics of the SDM. However, it is our objective to ensure that if a web service is written to be compliant with the SDM then we will be able to manage it."

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