IBM sweats acquisitions for bumper SOA rollout

Work hard for the money

IBM today rolled out 23 updated product and 11 professional services offerings for service oriented architectures (SOAs). Some use technology from recent and recent-ish acquisitions, Webify, BuildForge and Bowstreet.

Upgrades and launches include WebSphere Business Services Fabric, based on Webify and partners' software, that features pre-built accelerators, tools and frameworks to ensure SOAs comply with industry and government regulation. Also announced is WebSphere Registry Repository (WSRR), which is based on BuildForge, along with Rational ClearQuest and Rational Software Architect, and lets users manager services through metadata. Tivoli newbies include Tivoli Dynamic Workload Broker and the IBM Enterprise Workload Manager, and upgrades for the Tivoli Monitoring Family.

IBM is spending $1bn in SOA initiatives this year, according to Steve Mills, IBM's software head. IBM has nearly 3,000 customers engaged in some stage of SOA deployment, he says.

Today's claims notwithstanding, SOA is currently more a vision and mindshare thing than a revenue spinner for IBM. In March this year, Mills told the FT that while IBM's SOA implementations had doubled during the last year, SOA accounted for a "modest percentage" of IBM's $15.7bn software revenues.

Competition, at least from a marketing perspective, is fierce. BEA Systems, Oracle, SAP are all pushing SOA, while HP is jumping in with its acquisition of Mercury Interactive for application performance and tuning. HP gives Mercury the level of investment and channel reach that presents a challenge to IBM's Rational performance and tuning tools.

IBM's SOA news today is the latest bullish rollout apparently intended to convince customers that it is winning the SOA war. In April, IBM announced eight new products combined with enhancements to 20 existing products. At the time, Mills said IBM was taking a "people-centric" approach to SOA, as it was no longer sufficient to only deliver products. ®

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