Seeing a ‘Ghost’ in The SOA Machine

Customers building out more robust service-oriented architectures are looking for ways to gain more knowledge about their computing systems. SOA management firm Actional wants to help.

The company’s new software platform is offering “ghost agent” technology designed to make technologies based on languages other than XML or SOAP visible.

Called Looking Glass and SOAPstation 5.5, the next versions of its Web services platform also address the challenges IT managers face when not all of their company’s business transactions terminate within the SOA, said Actional Vice President David Gehringer.

For example, many information exchanges within networks are facilitated by some type of legacy software. So merely gaining visibility into Web services does not solve software management.

“Customers said: ‘I can’t control and I can’t manage what I can’t see’,”
Gehringer said in an interview. “They can’t enforce policy if they don’t
know what’s going on in their infrastructure and applications.”

Gehringer said Actional release 5.5 includes “ghost agent” technology that
give IT managers a clearer view of applications in a network that are not
based on XML or SOAP .

The revised system now provides IT managers with window-views into
applications based on Java Database Connectivity , which is a Java API that enables Java programs to execute SQL statements.

It also provides views into applications based on Java Remote Method Invocation (RMI), Enterprise Java Beans , JBoss, Java Message Service (JMS), as well as software from vendors Systinet, Sarvega and Reactivity.

Also new in the platform is discreet transaction visibility into clusters. This is designed to pinpoint intermittent failures that may be traced to configuration. The
technology is aiming to locate a single server or
instance each transaction goes through.

Lastly, Gehringer said 5.5 addresses the long running process in
asynchronous transactions by helping customers gain more insight into
performance and service-level agreements by tracking online product orders and seeing them through to completion.

Features aside, Actional 5.5 is significant in that it represents the first technology issue from the company since it merged
with Web services security specialist Westbridge Technology.

Actional used Westbridge XML Firewall technology to instrument security
policy around its own software and software from partners such as Reactivity
and RSA.

Actional competes with SOA Software, Amberpoint, Infravio, Cape Clear and
several other vendors in the SOA management space.

Separately, XML firewall appliance maker DataPower made available software
version 3.2 for its XS40 XML Security Gateway appliance. The software now
supports WS-Trust, using extensions to WS-Security for issuing, exchanging
and enforcing security tokens. 3.2 also features enhanced service level
monitoring and management features and backs SAML 2.0.

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