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Actional Updates Web Services Management Platform

Web services continue to evolve as companies seek to treat what industry experts maintain is a serious obstacle to massive adoption of the software that would link applications together -- management of those services to ensure they perform the business tasks they are instructed to do.

Mountain View, Calif.'s Actional, whose specialty is Web services management, updated its Web service broker Tuesday with just that in mind. Called SOAPstation, it acts as a proxy, brokering the interactions between applications providing Web services and the systems that build on them.

The new version, Actional SOAPstation 4.1, lets developers integrate management policy deployment in the application development lifecycle. These tools automate the management policy across development, test and production servers, updating variables that may change in the application creation stages.

SoapSation 4.1 also makes management of legacy XML-based services possible, including those forged before SOAP and WSDL , and facilitates their transition to those Web service standards. Essentially, this saves organizations that are adopting service-oriented architectures the trouble of replacing their infrastructure.

This is important, as standards for such services continue to evolve, which is not as quickly as the products that are being created, according to analysts. In fact, HP yesterday submitted the first ever Web services management schema proposal to a standards-forming body, OASIS. The schema is being supported by such industry leaders as BEA Systems, Oracle and Sun Microsystems.

Industry analysts have praised Actional, which competes with a slew of management vendors such as AmberPoint, Talking Blocks and Confluent Software, for its phased approach to Web services management. Application developers can introduce SOAPstation at the project level and the operations team can later deploy the company's Looking Glass management server and console.

The upgraded platform also features new intelligent clustering capabilities to raise scalability and redundancy in Web service networks. Clustering is geared to support high-volume, high-demand application architectures that are so vital in sectors such as banking, financial services, retail and telecom. Companies can deploy multiple instances of SOAPstation across their application environment.

Available July 31, Actional SOAPstation v4.1 will cost $50,000 per CPU.