IBM on Tuesday introduced several products and services designed to help companies connect their business applications using a service-oriented architecture, an IT blueprint that relies on software-connectivity standards such as Web services to facilitate the transfer of data within and between enterprises.
Among other things, IBM introduced two integration servers--the WebSphere Enterprise Services Bus and the WebSphere Process Server. Both are designed to help businesses more easily tie together internal, Web-services-based applications. Additionally, IBM launched a new version of the WebSphere Message Broker, which will connect non-standards-based applications, allowing users to bring those, too, into a service-oriented architecture.
The company also introduced the Eclipse-based WebSphere Integration Developer, which allows developers to build SOA-compliant composite applications to support various business processes. Later this month, IBM will introduce products in its Tivoli line of management tools that are designed to manage such composite applications.
Beyond new software, IBM unveiled services to help companies build and use SOAs. The company's Global Services arm has launched new practices to help users measure the performance of service-oriented architectures, manage such systems, and track SOA projects. IBM Global Services has also formed industry teams to help customers in financial services, communications, government, small and midsize business, and several other industries launch SOA projects.
IBM is among several software vendors, including BEA Systems Inc. and Tibco Software Inc., that are aggressively launching SOA-related products and services. Industry watcher Gartner has said most large companies will use SOAs by 2007. "It's what businesses are looking for today," IBM software chief Steve Mills said of SOAs during a conference call Tuesday.
The trend among businesses to increasingly outsource all but the most core functions paves the way for aggressive adoption of SOAs in the coming years as companies will need to exchange data with an increasing number of partners and service providers, Mills said. "Our customers are now realizing the value of implementing SOAs."