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SOA Software Snaps Up Web Services Concern

SOA Software acquired messaging specialist ThoughtDigital LLC to relay Web services payloads, rounding out its portfolio of management, security and UDDI software.

SOA Software's Service Manager sets policies for XML data and Web services in a secure, monitored fashion. The vendor's XML VPN lets businesses securely publish Web services for their partners to exchange. Lastly, SOA Software's UDDI-based Registry is the first product to integrate service discovery with policy and performance management.

ThoughtDigital's staff of 30 employees and messaging technology will be tucked into SOA Software's Service Manager platform, carrying information payloads between applications and allowing computers to communicate with one another to perform such tasks as purchase orders, said SOA Software Founder and Chairman Eric Pulier.

The new software is tailored for Oracle's E-business applications suite.

ZapThink analyst Jason Bloomberg said the deal makes SOA Software that much stronger and puts it into collision with new rivals, such as enterprise service bus (ESB) specialist Sonic Software, which also recently improved its SOA suite.

But Pulier said a key difference between what ThoughtDigital and Sonic offer is that the former has essentially productized messaging standards WS-ReliableMessaging, WS-Notification and WS-Eventing for applications governance. Sonic, he said, employs proprietary technology.

"ZapThink sees this news as part of the maturation of the transitional Web services management market, since enterprises are now realizing that management is only a piece of the SOA puzzle," Bloomberg said. "SOA Software is now offering a broader spectrum of the infrastructure capabilities that companies need to run their SOA implementations."

ThoughtDigital will remain in New York, serving as Digital Evolution's east coast "beachhead" because, Pulier said, "we were selling like gangbusters in financial services."

SOA seems to be in a unique position, averting any head-butting with larger Web services purveyors like IBM, Microsoft and BEA Systems, despite its growing client list, which is currently at 80. The concern even provides its management software to IBM's Tivoli and WebSphere lines in a key partnership.

"We've gone to great pains to position ourselves in a complementary fashion," Pulier said. "In fact, I would say a large portion of our business is driven by IBM."

As for the other, smaller players, such as Amberpoint, Actional and Systinet, Pulier said he is confident his company outshines anything those vendors have to offer, particularly because of superior breadth and depth.

Still, he acknowledged competition in the multi-billion-market is fierce and aggressive, with several acquisitions in the last three years.

As Digital Evolution in 2004, SOA Software acquired struggling Flamenco Networks, using its technology as the basis for its VPN software product.

Also, Computer Associates acquired Netegrity, HP bought Talking Blocks and Oblix snapped up Confluent Networks, to name a few.