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HP Offers Web Services Schema to OASIS

The Web services movement has garnered plenty of hype over the last few years, but the method for helping applications talk to one another and perform computing tasks has also opened up other avenues of software development.

As with any other niche in the crowded software sector, it's important to have products that can step in and make sure Web services perform the right functions for the business they are serving.

To that end, HP Monday sought to propel Web services management by submitting its Web Services Management Framework for review to the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) standards body.

The Palo Alto, Calif. giant is offering WSMF to OASIS' Web Services Distributed Management (WSDM) working group, which has been trying to lay a foundation for Web services management for several months. This group also includes IBM and BMC . WSMF is intended to be open and, should it come to fruition, could eliminate a barrier to the widespread adoption of Web services.

HP, operating under the auspices of its "adaptive enterprise" strategy, said such a specification is needed because businesses need to control access, track service levels and collect data about usage to make sure their investments are protected. WSMF is platform-agnostic and would support the management of J2EE, .NET and other platforms.

HP is getting support from such notable software vendors as Ascential Software , BEA Systems , Informatica , IONA , Oracle , Sun Microsystems , TIBCO Software , and webMethods , among others. But the space is littered with startups such as Talking Blocks, AmberPoint and Confluent Software. As such, consolidation is expected.

"HP is making an aggressive push with their Adaptive Enterprise initiative, and the effort to contribute WSMF, which is very "complimentary" to their commercial Darwin Reference Architecture, is clearly a move to out-step the competition (notably IBM, Computer Associates, and the emerging class of WS Management vendors) for a Web Services-based management spec," said ZapThink Senior Analyst Ronald Schmelzer.

As with a lot of aspects of Web services, the stakes for becoming a preferred management technology provider for them, are high.

"Since Web Services abstracts the actual implementation from the user -- so that there's no way to know what's actually running behind the Web Services interface -- it becomes imperative to manage the Web Services interfaces themselves and the application servers running those services," Schmelzer explained. "Any vendor that provides that functionality can wedge its way into becoming the Web Services management vendor of choice at an enterprise."

This means, for example, that HP can sell management software to vendors that might be otherwise IBM based - and vice versa and so on.

ZapThink Senior Analyst Jason Bloomberg said the play shows HP's dedication to its adaptive enterprise strategy since turning its focus to its OpenView management platform since its Compaq purchase.

"As with any established player, they must innovate carefully to avoid alienating their established customer base, but that being said, today's announcement shows that HP is committed to being a Web Services management leader," Bloomberg said.

The Web Services Management Framework 2.0 specification, which will be given to the OASIS WSDM committee at its next meeting July 28, is available for download here.