In conjunction with Microsoft’s rollout of BizTalk Server 2006 R2, SOA Software is announcing that it will embed its own policy enforcement mechanisms in the new release. The company claims the result will be what it terms ‘closed loop governance’ of the new version of BizTalk Server.
SOA Software is integrating Workbench, its registry/repository product, with the new version of BizTalk. That’s a notable tightening of links between the two, as previously, Workbench only tied in at the web server level with Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS). The new feature, which brings the links directly into the integration tier, was jointly developed with Microsoft.
We can perform policy enforcement directly inside BizTalk, said Ian Goldsmith, vice president of product marketing. Regardless of whether the message is HTTP, SMTP, or EDI, we will see it natively inside BizTalk.
What that means is that you can insert enforcement points for SOA Software’s governance tools at any point in a BizTalk process. You could insert one in the middle of a long-running business process, such as one that includes some human workflow, so the tool could identify where the bottleneck in a process exposed as a web service occurs.
Specifically, it integrates its agent as a BizTalk pipeline XML component. The agent monitors the web services that are exposed in BizTalk and reports changes back to SOA’s Workbench registry/repository where policies are defined, and audits enforcement of the policies within BizTalk.
That encompasses last mile policy enforcement for security, monitoring, mediation, management of authentication processes, and monitoring of web services and service level agreements.
According to Goldsmith, the level of integration with the new version of BizTalk is deeper than any of their links with other vendors. By comparison, SOA’s Service Manager ties in with BEA AquaLogic Server and Cordys BPM through JAXR, the Java API to XML Registries. Although most of SOA’s installed base does not currently involve BizTalk, Goldsmith estimates that 90% of its customers have BizTalk somewhere in their organization.
SOA Software is also part of Microsoft’s announcement of new ESB guidance, which is being released under preview alongside BizTalk R2. Specifically, Microsoft is releasing some sample code that provides access using the WS-MetadataExchange and UDDI v3 standards that involve reading XML documents from SOA Workbench.
While SOA Software emphasizes its platform independence, for now the Microsoft partnership has clearly become more equal than others at the registry/repository level. Yet, when it comes to run time management or governance, AmberPoint has had its foot further inside the door: Microsoft ships a lite version of AmberPoint’s SOA governance console with Visual Studio 2005.
Either company would make a logical acquisition target for Microsoft.