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AmberPoint Delves into SOAs

AmberPoint became the latest management software specialist to upgrade its platform to support the broader service-oriented architecture approach, which includes Web services and other components.

The Oakland, Calif., specialist Monday also said it has received $8.2 million in funding from Crosslink Capital, Norwest Venture Partners, Sutter Hill Ventures and Motorola Ventures.

AmberPoint Vice President of Marketing Ed Horst said the company upgraded its management platform to help its customers, which include Best Buy, British Telecommunications and Motorola , deal with the growth of their SOAs.

Included in the new AmberPoint release are enhancements to the Service Level Manager, Exception Manager and AmberPoint Management Foundation, which now support both SOAP and non-SOAP XML, HTML Web pages, hardware switches and blade servers, Horst told internetnews.com.

Until recently, AmberPoint was one of a slew of software vendors hawking mainly Web services management software to monitor and log message relays within distributed computing systems. But the industry is increasingly becoming aware that enterprises require a more broad management approach to integrating their disparate resources.

This is where the more general SOA approach for distributed computing comes in, as it factors in components beyond Web services.

IBM , Microsoft and BEA Systems are all adding some form of SOA for their customers, as are more direct AmberPoint rivals Actional, Cape Clear and Infravio. In fact, chief rival Actional also recently attached itself to the SOA moniker.

At the behest of customers, AmberPoint now supports real-time management of thousands, instead of hundreds, of active service-level agreements across multiple customers and services, to support the roll-out of more complex systems, Horst said.

To discover service interdependencies across platforms -- from programming language to application servers to operating systems -- the vendor also now uses a patent-pending message fingerprinting technology.

New features include automated discovery and graphical representation of service interdependencies; dynamic assignment of service level agreements and performance targets; virtualization of services to hides users and dependent services from changes and rearrangements of service definitions; and graphical representations for root cause analysis to pinpoint problems.

To improve management, AmberPoint has introduced a "recoverable management system," in which the software platform rebuilds management information in case of central system or disk failure. Moreover, no single point of failure can disable a service.

"We are managing the management," Horst said. "I know that sounds redundant but the management systems of these environments play a critical role, and you can't have them fail, especially if it takes part of the system down with it."

The new software perks dovetail with the new funding from investors who believe in AmberPoint's ability to score contracts with customers requiring comprehensive SOA management installations. The $8.2 million infusion, which will be used to expand engineering operations, customer support and sales and marketing, is the company's series C funding and brings its total to $30.8 million.

The cash validates AmberPoint and gives hope to other smaller companies who are trolling for venture capital funding in the wake of an economic downturn.