RealTime IT News

Helping Uncle Sam Rate Its SOA

BEA Systems is targeting government agencies with a tool to help them rate their distributed computing models.

Call it a readiness assessment service for grading Uncle Sam's progress toward service-oriented architecture .

SOAs are reference architecture models that help businesses consolidate or integrate applications, reusing software and services to cut down on the manual production developers must do. Applications are essentially transformed into services.

The Federal BEA Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) Readiness Self-Assessment Tool helps organizations test against peers. It offers suggestions for better operations. Federal users can log on, take the test and receive the SOA benchmarking report, with suggestions on improving the SOA.

Government groups make good SOA customers because they require a standard computing architecture to communicate between agencies. SOAs provide this by facilitating Web services , automating communications between computers.

U.S. agencies will also spend money for new technology with the expectation that they won't have to upgrade every other year or so. SOAs, with their reusability perks, are attractive as replacements to legacy computing gear.

BEA recognizes this. The San Jose, Calif., company has been preaching an SOA strategy for more than a year with technologies like the Quicksilver enterprise service bus (ESB) for messaging.

The company is also about to unleash a smattering of new SOA-geared products next month in New York City.

BEA unveiled its assessment tests this past January to help IT managers determine how to tie services to IT. BEA faces strong competition from middleware market leader IBM.

IBM offered its SOMA practice as a methodology to help businesses implement an SOA that can tie business processes to underlying applications through services.

While Microsoft is a true force in the software industry and has its own SOA plans, BEA and IBM appear to be on a collision course because they both write software based on the popular Java computing language.