An SOA to Govern All?

Spring has arrived for IBM’s service-oriented architecture portfolio, whose seeds are blooming.

The company today unveiled Service Oriented Architecture Governance, a bouquet of software, processes and services to help customers create policies in their distributed computing systems.

Distributed computing systems, such as SOAs , allow communications such as Web services talk to one another as they shuttle from network to network to execute business transactions.

These Web services need to be corralled, organized and controlled by their users, or they may break down and become useless. This control is important at a time when customers rely on the Web services to meet service-level agreements and ensure availability.

IBM said in a statement its SOA Governance solution, a natural extension of traditional IT governance to meet sales and revenue goals, may be one such approach.

This offering includes the IBM WebSphere Service Registry and Repository, which can help customers find, use and manage service metadata used in an SOA.

A new plug-in for IBM Rational Method Composer allows certain governance best practices from IBM’s Business Consulting Services to be packaged as a reusable asset and delivered as part of Rational Method Composer, the Armonk, N.Y., company’s process platform for IT lifecycle management.

Another SOA Governance bundle from IBM’s software development line, IBM Rational Data Architect, helps customers adopt and enforce corporate and industry standards on SOAs. The product will help customers comply with corporate governance policies.

Other new offerings include SOA Governance and Management Method, also offered through IBM’s Business Consulting Services. With this service, nearly 500 consultants will be available to help customers map their requirements, policies and regulations.

Lastly, IBM’s Tivoli Change and Configuration Management Database automatically discovers and manages information about a client’s IT environment.

IBM’s SOA Governance comes as governance practices are increasingly moving out from under the storage mantle, as governed by compliance regulations such as HIPAA and SEC 17a-4, and into broader computing areas.

While IBM’s new offering is comprehensive, Big Blue isn’t the first to play in this space, according to ZapThink analyst Jason Bloomberg. Existing leaders in SOA governance include Infravio, LogicLibrary, Mercury Systinet, WebLayers and Flashline, he said.

“The bottom line is that this market is still in flux, as companies figure out that SOA governance is more than simply managing the SOA project, but rather implementing corporate governance by leveraging SOA,” Bloomberg said.

More broadly, IBM competes with BEA Systems, Microsoft, Oracle and SAP in the distributed computing software market, which analysts claim is worth billions.

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