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Software AG unveils new CentraSite for SOA governance

Software AG has put together a new SOA governance product fusing its original CentraSite registry/repository, which it built with Fujitsu, with the Infravio XRegistry it acquired with its purchase of webMethods.

Software AG is unveiling its CentraSite Governance Edition for service-oriented architecture (SOA) implementations today at the SOA Governance Summit in Copenhagen, Denmark.

I don't think anyone who has a registry/repository can say they are truly open.
Bradley F. Shimmin
Principal Analyst of Application InfrastructureCurrent Analysis LLC.

The new product melds registry/repository technology from Software AG's original CentraSite product built with Fujitsu Computer Systems Inc., and the Infravio XRegistry it acquired with webMethods last April. Boasting 20 brand new features, Jignesh Shah, product line director for SOA governance at Software AG, indicated at an analyst/media briefing last week that this product is envisioned as more than the sum of its parts.

Analysts interviewed for this article agreed that it is a major step forward, positioning CentraSite as competitor with the Systinet technology now owned by Hewlett-Packard Company, and the SOA governance products from AmberPoint Inc.

"They've gone beyond what they needed to do to rationalize two product lines," said Bradley F. Shimmin, principal analyst of application infrastructure at Current Analysis LLC. "They've really taken steps to make this a compelling stand-alone product."

Ron Schmelzer, senior analyst with ZapThink LLC., said what he found impressive about the new CentraSite is the comprehensive approach to SOA governance that Software AG is taking covering both design time, and runtime.

"From the design-time perspective the main idea is governing the creation of services and managing metadata, especially in an asset management perspective. Not only can it store Web services-related metadata like WSDL, but also non-Web services models, metadata and supporting artifacts. This makes it potent in a design-time capacity."

At the briefing, Shah said this approach reflects the reality that SOA is more than Web services.

"The notion that Web services equals SOA has quickly been dismissed," Shah said. "We see customers who look at services first and then look at implementation. So the key goal of this release was to allow customers to govern all re-useable SOA assets, Web services or otherwise. We have customers who govern CORBA services or .NET Controls for that matter or portlets as they are used as SOA assets. They all need the same level of governance and management as Web services.

Schmelzer said going beyond Web services is important in the runtime governance capabilities of the new CentraSite.

"The governance capabilities extend to the runtime by providing a means to manage policy and metadata for running services and the consumption of those services, even beyond Web services," Schmelzer said. "So, the big story is that Software AG sees SOA governance as being much bigger and broader than simply Web services governance and their products support a wide range of service implementation types."

Shimmin also was impressed with the extension of governance to both design time and runtime, and what Software AG calls "change time" where modifications and maintenance may impact SOA applications. However, he said the CentraSite product still needs to improve its interoperability with other vendors products in heterogeneous implementations.

While Software AG is touting interoperability in this release, Shimmin said true cross-vendor interoperability isn't there yet. Falling short in interoperability is an Achilles heel that Software AG shares with HP Systinet and AmberPoint, the analyst added.

"So I don't think you could say that any of the registry/repository solutions are truly open at the level they need to be to support a heterogeneous fully-baked lifecycle," Shimmin said.

At present, he does not see a fully-interoperable stand alone SOA governance product, but he said CentraSite is moving in that direction.

"I don't think anyone who has a registry/repository can say they are truly open except that they adhere to the only standard there is for interoperability right now, which is UDDI," he said. "But UDDI doesn't really cover what these things need to do. For example, if you have a different tool, say I'm going to use IBM's Rational tools, it's not going to be able to write to or read from the CentraSite repository to get the detailed information that I would want to use and vice versa."

That said, Shimmin does expect to see more interoperability from Software AG.

"I think what you'll see in the next six months is more interoperability with the webMethods tools and a little more interoperability with third party products to try to bolster their objective of keeping this fully integrated with their own tools and something they can market as a competitor to Systinet and AmberPoint."

For more information
Software AG buys webMethods in major SOA play

webMethods buys Infravio for SOA governance tools

Of the 20 new features added to CentraSite, Schmelzer is impressed with a policy automation tool.

"They have this cool thing called ActivePolicy that automates many of the steps needed to churn out high-quality services and bundle about 80 such processes to accelerate best practices adoption," the ZapThink analyst said.

Other new features and enhancements Software AG lists for CentraSite Governance Edition include:

  • Best Practices pre-loaded to help end-users with governance adoption.
  • Enhanced Repository designed to expand service reuse via universal availability of service definitions and histories, and policy documents.
  • Open Metadata Model, which allows customers to model and govern all types of reusable SOA assets ranging from Web services to CORBA services to BPEL processes.
  • Enhanced Change-Time Governance, which provides interactive impact analysis and improves agility as well as service reliability and availability by allowing users to more quickly and easily assess the impact of proposed changes on downstream relationships.
  • Intuitive User Interface designed to provide a single view of the SOA landscape with an Ajax-based Web 2.0 interface.
  • Customized Views, which allows users to drill-down on areas of specific interest.
  • SOA Federation, which synchronizes governance processes and policy enforcement across disparate repositories and SOA infrastructure components, such as testing tools, SOA management products and security appliances.

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