Sonic Sounds Off with SOA Upgrade

Sonic Software has added a collaboration server and database service to the

new version of its service-oriented architecture (SOA)

platform, built on top of the company’s enterprise service bus (ESB)


Sonic CTO Gordon Van Huizen said the company created the new products to

round out the company’s SOA Infrastructure 6.1, a suite that helps companies

integrate disparate pieces of software and reuse assets to cut development

costs. The suite leverages the Sonic’s ESB, which lets administrators

integrate applications.

The Collaboration Server is a business-to-business component that allows an

administrator to manage partner interactions in an SOA, using B2B protocols

and Web services standards, Van Huizen said. The product lets enterprises

meet partner requirements without disrupting their operations.

In that capacity, the Collaboration Service performs a bit like a commerce

server. Van Huizen said the distinction is that the internal view of the

enterprise is aligned with Sonic’s SOA model. Most commerce servers from

integration vendors are their own isolated environments that require a lot

of integration.

To make the Collaboration Service compliant with industry standards, Sonic

also supports the two primary B2B protocols, ebXML and

RosettaNet, with support for BPEL and Web services

specifications to come.

Van Huizen said the Bedford, Mass., company created Database Service in order to help

customers integrate relational data sources into an SOA, making it easier

for them to reuse existing data resources.

“What we found is that a significant number of customers were bringing

relational data into their SOAs,” Van Huizen said. “With most products on the

market, that’s a difficult thing to do.” He noted that a customer usually has to map

from the relational query model into a message- or event-driven service.

The Database Service provides the tooling and runtime service to make integrating the database easier. The product features a development mapping tool that

allows users to map from XML message schema into SQL queries

and then map SQL results back into XML messages that would be pushed back

out to the ESB.

The service uses drivers from DataDirect Technologies to provide

connectivity with Oracle Database, Microsoft SQL Server, Sybase

Adaptive Server, Informix Dynamic Server and IBM DB2 UDB. DataDirect was

acquired by Sonic parent Progress Software last year.

The new products join Sonics’s Orchestration Server, XML Server and

Workbench, all underpinned by Sonic’s ESB in the company’s infrastructure


As a maker of Java-based infrastructure software, Sonic sees its main

competitors as IBM , BEA Systems

, as well as pure-play integration vendors like

webMethods and Tibco.

Although Sonic has 175 customers using its ESB and SOA stacks, the company

doesn’t have the financial or personnel clout of the large vendors. Van

Huizen said Sonic’s goal is to promote as much interoperability as possible

as the self-described “Switzerland” of the sector, winning customers who

don’t want to go whole hog for IBM’s or BEA’s platforms.

The CTO said Sonic’s primary challenge going forward mirrors that of the

other infrastructure vendors: integrating disparate types of applications

into their SOA models.

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