Actional Beefs Up Web-Services Management

Actional has added a new planning and analysis tool to its lineup of software devoted to the new field of Web-services management.

Charles Babcock, Editor at Large, Cloud

July 1, 2003

2 Min Read

Actional Corp. has added a new planning and analysis tool to its lineup of software devoted to the new field of Web-services management. It's part of a strategy to bring Web services to businesses one small step at a time, says John Rhinelander, an analyst at the New Rowley Group.

"Instead of a larger management solution, they're trying to sell smaller pieces. You walk first, then you run," Rhinelander says.

Actional already offers SOAP Station, data-capture software that sits on the network in between Web-services applications, monitoring the XML message traffic between them. It can feed that monitoring information into an analysis and reporting tool, Looking Glass Server, whose analysis and reporting capabilities tell a Webmaster or other IT manager how the responses from the Web site appear to the end user.

Companies using the two can ensure performance called for in service-level agreements and know when trouble is brewing somewhere in the linkages that make up a service, says James Phillips, chief strategist for the vendor.

On Monday, Actional added Looking Glass SOA (Services Oriented Architecture) Planner, a tool that adds more depth of analysis and an overview of the traffic. The tool is intended to give Webmasters the chance to predict the future performance of their Web services under given traffic loads and do capacity planning, Phillips says.

"If you have an application failure, the symptoms can begin to appear several hops away," Phillips notes. A customer at an E-commerce site, for example, may want to know when a product can ship as well as what it costs and what color is in stock, but the inventory application that's part of the SAP system on the other side of the data center may be caught in a loop, stalling the response to the user, he says.

"We determine when a problem exists between systems. We track the inter-relationships, the utilization of applications, and the dependencies between nodes," or Web service-generating servers on the company's network, he adds.

Looking Glass SOA Planner is available now for $25,000 per server. SOAP Station is $50,000 per CPU, while Looking Glass Server is $75,000 per server.

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About the Author(s)

Charles Babcock

Editor at Large, Cloud

Charles Babcock is an editor-at-large for InformationWeek and author of Management Strategies for the Cloud Revolution, a McGraw-Hill book. He is the former editor-in-chief of Digital News, former software editor of Computerworld and former technology editor of Interactive Week. He is a graduate of Syracuse University where he obtained a bachelor's degree in journalism. He joined the publication in 2003.

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