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webMethods integrates Infravio's SOA street cred

Venerable integration vendor lets recently acquired SOA governance technology maintain its branding and mature at its startup pace.

Integration vendor webMethods, Inc. may have gotten more than it bargained for in September when it acquired privately-held Infravio, Inc., a Silicon Valley startup governance vendor, for $38 million in cash.

[We'll have] more of an emphasis on governing not just services, but all types of artifacts that are exposed across an integration platform, as well as a business process management platform.
Marc Bressinger
CTOwebMethods, Inc

"What they're going to gain is SOA thought leadership," said Ron Schmelzer, senior analyst at ZapThink LLC, who attended webMethods' user conference, Integration World, in Washington D.C. this week. He found the webMethods trade show had a new energy, which he attributed to the infusion of "DNA" from Infravio.

Marc Bressinger, webMethods CTO, in an interview from the show confirmed that integration of Infravio into webMethods will consist largely of letting the startup infuse its technology into the webMethods Fabric integration platform. webMethods announced this week that it is adding its name to the SOA governance products, which will now be known as webMethods Infravio X-Registry and webMethods Infravio X-Broker, but it is more a case of webMethods adapting its products to Infravio's technology than the other way around.

"We're not going to slow down the development of those products or the maturation of those products by forcing artificial limits or constraints on them to integrate into any existing webMethods products," Bressinger said. "At the same time we will be putting the onus on the rest of the Fabric components and the webMethods products to make sure they are taking advantage of the capabilities of X-Registry within the broader platform.

"What we're trying to do is bring the best of both worlds in the short term in allowing the Infravio products to mature on their very rapid pace, keeping that small startup feel, keeping the branding, keeping the market presence that Infravio has and taking advantage of that within the broader platform," he said.

Noting that talk of technology revolutions tends to put off IT professionals working to maintain enterprise systems, the webMethods CTO said the customers he is talking to are interested in taking an evolutionary approach to SOA. webMethods customers who have in the past worked with integration technology, such as EAI, are looking to take advantage of the SOA approach that makes use of their existing infrastructure rather than replacing it with a completely new implementation, Bressinger said.

Schmelzer had gotten much the same impression from talking to webMethods customers at the show.

"They don't want to rip and replace," he said.

This evolutionary view was reflected as Bressinger outlined webMethods' intelligent design concept for integrating Infravio into the Fabric. It will begin with emphasizing governance technology, which is at the heart of the Infravio products, in webMethods integration and BPM products.

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"The one thing that you will start to see over the next six to nine months is more of an emphasis on governing not just services, but all types of artifacts that are exposed across an integration platform, as well as a business process management platform," Bressinger said. "This will allow you to register and govern things like business processes and integration components as well as Web services. So we'll expand that concept of governance into a wider umbrella."

Schmelzer said he is impressed with the merging of the two company's products, as it was unveiled at the webMethods show.

"It wasn't an old company trying to bolt something new onto their product," he said. "It's merging very well."

The ZapThink analyst also said the feel of the show was different from past webMethods events.

"You could feel that it's the beginning of a new era," he said.

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