Actional Hugs SOA for Broader Focus

Actional is shifting its strategy to include service-oriented architecture (SOA)
in the latest point upgrade to its software platform.

Actional 5.1, announced Monday, now supports databases, Web pages, middleware and legacy systems not based on XML or SOAP.

The Mountain View, Calif., company will still make software that shepherds
Web services or application-to-application
communication, said CTO Dan Foody. But embracing the term “SOA”
was only logical after customers demanded a broader range of software for
integrating their applications, the engineer said.

The move from exclusive Web services support to the broader SOA method for
distributed computing is a common theme in the software industry. IBM , BEA Systems and Computer Associates, as well as smaller vendors, such as Cape Clear and Infravio, have introduced
SOA products in the last few months as the market increasingly recognizes
the need for more inclusive platforms.

Accordingly, Foody told that its products, such as the
Looking Glass suite, lend visibility among Web services and
service-level agreements and perform root-cause analysis of problems, all of
which customers love.

“But one of the things that they’ve come back to us and said is, ‘Our problem
is that our environment isn’t just Web services. We’ve got Web servers on
the front, database servers on the back, legacy systems… We really like
these Looking Glass features, but we want them over a broader scope,'” Foody

Such customer feedback prompted Foody and his team to make the sweeping upgrades
to their software platform in version 5.1. The new release
extends management capabilities beyond SOAP and XML-based
Web services to include other services in a typical SOA.
For example, Looking Glass now manages databases, Web pages, middleware and
legacy systems that are not based on XML or SOAP.

New 5.1 tools include Actional Active Agents for Java Database Connectivity
, Java Server Pages and Servlets, and Active Server
Pages , all of which will be supported by SLA
monitoring and enforcement, automatic correlation and root-cause analysis.

The core Actional platform employs role-based administration, which allows users to view
or change only the information and configurations for which they are
authorized. Self-service administration, introduced in 5.1, allows shared
installations of Actional products to appear as if each user has their own
copy of the software.

The vendor is also offering a software development kit to help customers
manage legacy and non-SOAP services within an SOA.

Actional 5.1 is now available. Customers can buy Actional software
components, such as SOAPstation, and pay $5000 per CPU when they go into
production. Or they may purchase the entire management stack (including
Looking Glass and CentralControl), which start between $50,000 and $100,000,
depending on the degree of need.

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