IBM has focused on simplifying application integration in its enhancements to the WebSphere Application Server and tools. Studio lets developers build adapters based on the standard Java 2 enterprise connector architecture. In addition, a graphical user interface has been added to Studio to connect business applications and add new application logic, such as purchase discounts according to volume. The business process built with the tool is deployed on the application server and can be exposed as a Web service for integration with other processes. The WebSphere Application Server, Enterprise Edition v4.1 sells for $35,000 per CPU. WebSphere Studio v4.1, available March 28, sells for $5,999.
HP Web Service Platform 2.0 includes a visual environment for exposing a Java application programming interface as a Web service, which means the application can communicate with other applications via Simple Object Access Protocol. Called Service Composer, the tool sells for $1,000. In addition, HP is shipping new software for transaction integrity and management related to applications interacting through SOAP. HP Web Service Transactions 1.0, which will sell for $6,000 per CPU, ships in April and is based on an early implementation of Business Transaction Protocol, a developing standard for managing business-to-business transactions using Extensible Markup Language. OASIS, an international standards body, is developing BTP.
HP and IBM also are unveiling upgrades to their Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration registries for publishing Web services either within an organization or to business partners. Both registries comply with version 2.0 of the UDDI specification.
Hurwitz Group analyst Tyler McDaniel says IBM and HP are strong in terms of offering technology for building and deploying Web services. However, the companies differ dramatically in their ability to market and sell their technologies. "IBM has been superb in articulating and promoting the value of the WebSphere brand and its components," McDaniel says. HP, on the other hand, needs to do a better job at marketing its technology and in driving software sales through its hardware sales force. However, he says, HP is "improving in their ability to articulate the value of NetAction." HP NetAction is the brand for the software suite that includes the company's application server and development tools.