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AmberPoint Fine-Tunes Web Services Management

While the landscape of Web services management players has thinned out in the last year, some of the stronger vendors are busy fine-tuning their platforms by adding even greater degrees of governance. AmberPoint is one of those companies.

The Oakland, Calif. maker of software that aims to moderate the communication of multiple Web services applications unveiled Monday the latest iteration of its product, AmberPoint 2004.

Vice President of Marketing Ed Horst said AmberPoint 2004 adds support for Web traffic to give customers complete visibility of their transaction across disparate systems and processes.

Also included are new features such as calendaring support for tracking and optimizing service levels around peak hours and a Graphical Policy Designer for designing and enforcing security, versioning, load balancing, fail-over, message transformations and content routing for Web services.

Horst told internetnews.com the platform enhancements, shipping later this month, are brought about entirely by customer demand and span all AmberPoint product families, including Service Level Manager, Exception Manager and AmberPoint Management Foundation.

One upside to AmberPoint is that it integrates into any Web services environment, running natively in both .NET and Java to manage monitor and secure Web services without requiring extra coding from developers.

Tom Rhinelander, analyst with New Rowley Group, said the new features and improved service level agreement (SLA) policies make AmberPoint 2004 an easy sell.

"These customer-driven changes reflect how Web services and Web service management tools are evolving from conceptual to critical solutions," Rhimelander said in a statement.

Management is a staple on the short list for barriers to wholesale Web services adoption, along with security and interoperability.

Solving such problems makes for a lucrative opportunity for companies like AmberPoint, which competes with Actional, Systinet, Infravio, Flamenco Networks and Cape Clear, because those companies are considered valuable by larger vendors looking to add a management element to their software strategies for utility computing.

Accordingly, the Web services management sector has been consolidating. Just last week, security software maker Oblix moved to acquire struggling outfit Confluent Networks. Last year, HP snapped up Talking Blocks and Computer Associates nabbed Adjoin.

Analysts have said the mergers and acquisitions are likely to continue until a only a few well-rounded players are left.