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Oracle, SOA Software to Meld Web Services

UPDATED: SOA Software will add Oracle's BPEL engine to its security and management software to shore up its Web services delivery.

Internetnews.com has learned that SOA Software has arranged for Oracle's BPEL Process Manager to integrate with its Service Manager software, which allows administrators to protect Web services applications as they are shuttled across different enterprises.

The agreement will help users consume Web services and manage the business processes they trigger in one fell swoop.

Robert Medrano, executive vice president of SOA, said SOA is the first company to integrate Oracle's BPEL engine. He also said terms of the deal allow SOA to resell BPEL to its customers as needed.

"We will actively pursue some engagements together," Medrano said. "This is a cooperative relationship where we will get to customers who feel the need to have a business process layer coupled with a Web services management platform."

Web services are a popular way to make applications communicate with one another, triggering such transactions as purchase orders. Such services are highly valued for their ability to permit computing across network infrastructure made by several different vendors.

But in a distributed computing environment, such as a service-oriented architecture (SOA) , too many services have a way of getting muddled. To combat this quandary, major vendors, such as Microsoft, BEA Systems and IBM, have created Business Process Execution Language, or BPEL.

Software based on BPEL allows users to rein in hundreds or even thousands of services, "choreographing" them to work in harmony. While still relatively new, it is believed BPEL will help Web services facilitate business processes and transactions with little disruption.

Oracle acquired the technology for its BPEL software last year when it purchased Collaxa for an undisclosed sum. Collaxa made software engines specifically to orchestrate BPEL.

SOA Software, formerly known as Digital Evolution, has emerged as somewhat of a leader in a pack of smaller Web services vendors that includes Amberpoint, Actional and Systinet.

While smaller rivals were gobbled up by larger vendors like Oracle, HP and Computer Associates, SOA has persevered and even done some acquiring itself to bulk up its stack.

The company snapped up Flamenco Networks for security and management last September and bought messaging specialist ThoughtDigital last month.

The Santa Monica, Calif., company has put together most of the pieces to be a complete Web services vendor, offering security, management, messaging and registry services, among other perks.

While acquisitions have been the story in the space for the last few years, the agreement between SOA and Oracle shows that the industry is evolving to a comfortable place where cooperative competition can help businesses get ahead.