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webMethods acquires Infravio

A bit of a coup

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Comment BEA's acquisition of Flashline in late August left me wondering why the company had not opted for Infravio. A partial answer was revealed on 11 September with the announcement that Infravio had been acquired by webMethods.

The acquisition of Infravio does not come as a great surprise. There is broad agreement that SOA registry/repository technology is one of the key capabilities of the service infrastructure required for effective SOA initiaitives and Infravio is one of a comparatively small number of pure-play providers of that technology. The likes of BEA, HP, IBM and Oracle have all invested heavily in a combination of in-house development, OEM relationships and acquisition to bolster their registry/repository capabilities and it was only a matter of time before Infravio went the way of Flashline and Systinet and became an acquisition target. The fact that webMethods acquired them did come as a bit of a shock though. With Systinet now out of play, I could have seen the likes of Oracle or SAP (and BEA pre-Flashline) opening their wallets. So this is a bit of a coup for webMethods.

The acquisition certainly makes a lot of sense for webMethods. In our assessment of webMethods service infrastructure offerings, we discuss the fact that webMethods' Fabric, and more specifically its Servicenet product, provides surprisingly strong support for service lifecycle management but that webMethods acknowledged the need to enhance these capabilities, with the addition of service dependency checking and impact analysis.

We also highlight the need for better integration between webMethods' Enterprise Service Platform and Servicenet products, for example in the specification, storage and publication of information about service policies, service interfaces, and integration orchestrations. The Infravio acquisition should enable webMethods to both provide the lifecycle management enhancements and improve the integration of the Enterprise Service Platform and Servicenet.

webMethods has done a good job of exploiting its heritage in application integration and combining it with facilities for implementing and managing a SOA initiative to offer a comprehensive set of service infrastructure capabilities. The Infravio acquisition certainly adds to what is already a strong offering and webMethods is striving to shift to more of a business-focussed proposition based around business process improvement and vertical industry solutions built on top of Fabric.

Despite these strengths, the challenge for the company is to exploit its current advantage and remain relevant in the face of competitors with far greater resources at their disposal. With SOA governance and registry/repository so hot at the moment, the acquisition should certainly increase awareness of webMethods amongst organisations embarking on SOA initiatives. Whether webMethods can maintain the momentum once the buzz has died down is less certain. ®

Copyright © 2006 Macehiter Ward-Dutton

This article was originally published at IT-Analysis.com.

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