The partnership between Fujitsu Ltd and Software AG has gained credibility after the pair unveiled the first product developed jointly: a service oriented architecture (SOA) repository that they said brings their various products together to create a SOA platform.
Computer Business Review first broke the news that the pair were working on a metadata repository to underpin SOA projects back in March, but at that time they were calling the product the Integration Metadata Repository – since then the idea has been through marketing and now it’s called CentraSite.
Since the pair announced their partnership the agreement has until now really only seen each company reselling the other’s products. Software AG has been reselling Fujitsu’s Interstage Business Process Manager, while Fujitsu peddled Software AG’s Enterprise Information Integrator and Enterprise Service Integrator offerings.
While there was some limited integration between those products, what they lacked was a central repository where users could store their web services and other SOA artifacts – components, objects, version histories, the developers and business owners of services and so on. The pair say that CentraSite does exactly that, promoting greater collaboration between business and IT and uniting metadata from their various SOA integration products.
CentraSite is built on the universal description, discovery and integration (UDDI) standard, the pair say, though it extends that standard with its own metadata model. According to Software AG’s senior director of XML business integration, JT Taylor, UDDI gives you a view of your services like a black box: it gives you a view of them from the outside but that is not enough. CentraSite extends UDDI so that as requirements become more complex, and harder and harder to manage, it gives you a clear view of the discreet services from the inside.
Fujitsu’s chief architect Keith Swenson said that with the addition of CentraSite support to its Interstage Business Process Manager, as well as Software AG’s Enterprise Information Integrator and Enterprise Service Integrator offerings, the pair are now able to offer a complete SOA platform.
Asked whether customers will be convinced of the strength of the integration of a suite built by two different companies, Swenson said that, While working on CentraSite we have been forced to use the same integration environment ourselves, so we know it works. We’ve also built it with full standards support, not only UDDI but also for example we have ensured all web services traffic is WSI [Web Services Interoperability Organization] compliant.
Software AG’s Taylor noted that even companies that build software on their own often have very distributed teams, but added that each company’s developers had met face to face regularly during the development of CentraSite.
According to the companies, CentraSite is an SOA repository that manages SOA metadata assets and enables visibility and re-use of web services components within and across organizations. CentraSite also provides reporting on those metadata assets and supports the sharing of the assets in the context of an SOA. This should enable customers to more quickly and cost-effectively implement initiatives for business transformation, process excellence and improved customer service.
The three products that support CentraSite are Fujitsu’s Interstage Business Process Manager, a BPM tool with an emphasis on human workflow; Software AG’s Enterprise Information Integrator, which provides a single view of disparate information to business users; and Software AG’s Enterprise Service Integrator, said to be an enterprise service bus (ESB) that orchestrates web services into new business services from existing systems to more quickly align data and business logic with business requirements.
Both companies are marketing and selling all of these products, and continue to sell them individually standalone if customers do not want the whole suite. Further out the pair plan to continue to extend the number of products that support CentraSite, and they will also develop a community program to allow partners and other technology vendors to support it. That’s planned for introduction at the beginning of 2006.
So far the companies said that after product previews two customers have bought into the SOA platform: Bundeswertpapierverwaltung, part of the Federal Ministry of Finance in Germany, and Entory, a specialist for business processes in the financial services industry.