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Systinet, Actional to integrate Web services tools

Actional and Systinet have announced a deal to sell each other's Web services products and integrate their technologies. The companies say the alliance gives customers a complete Web services product set, and an analyst says it allows the vendors to compete against larger companies amid a shrinking market.

In a partnership to be officially announced Tuesday, Systinet Corp. and Actional Corp. will sell each other's Web services products and integrate their technologies. The deal puts both companies in a position to better compete with the large platform providers.

Through the agreement, Actional will resell Systinet's Web Application Services Platform (WASP) UDDI registry as a component of its Web services management platform. In turn, Systinet will embed Actional's Active Agent monitoring technology into its WASP Server runtime environment for creating and deploying Web services.

James Phillips, chief strategist and senior vice president of products and marketing at Mountain View, Calif.-based Actional, said the combination of the two companies' products will allow customers to have a complete set of Web services products.

He said that a typical customer could begin by creating their Web services using Cambridge, Mass.-based Systinet's WASP developer tools, deploy them using the WASP runtime environment aided by the Active Agents, make them searchable using the WASP UDDI registry, and manage them using Actional's management platform.

"We're providing the marketplace with a complete set of tools that allows [developers] to start with a development environment and end up with a service-oriented architecture and distributed application management system," Phillips said.

Daniel Sholler, a vice president with Stamford, Conn.-based analyst firm Meta Group, said the alliance will help both companies in terms of their ability to satisfy customer demands, as well as compete with the larger platform players like IBM Corp. and BEA Systems Inc.

However, Sholler said, over the long term the deal should be more significant for Systinet. He said Systinet's primary focus to date has been the low-growth area of Web services development, but the addition of an integrated management offering will help customers see its product as more than a set of tools.

"My take is that those things, while they're useful and valid, ultimately will be superceded by the tools that come from companies like Borland and IBM," Sholler said. He said that, rather than focus on tools, Systinet and other vendors will shift their attention toward making Web services easier to work with.

From Actional's perspective, Phillips said, one of the key factors behind the deal was increasing customer demand for UDDI products.

"One of the things we've always recommended from an architecture standpoint to our customers is the need to adopt a UDDI repository or registry for the services they will expose and utilize in their environment," Phillips said. He added that his company worked informally with Systinet on several customer engagements, helping both sides to realize that they would be better off joining forces.

Prior to the deal, Phillips said, there was only a "fairly loose linkage" between Actional's and Systinet's products. Now, with native integration, users could, for example, make changes to a Web service using Actional's SOAP Station software, and Systinet's UDDI directory would automatically detect the changes and update its information about the Web service.

Phillips said that, even though the method through which customers receive support will differ from engagement to engagement, each company's support team has been trained to support the other company's products.

Pricing for the combined products will remain unchanged. Systinet's WASP Server, both Java and C++ versions, is free for a single CPU license, and $2,000 for each additional CPU. Its WASP UDDI registry is $10,000 per CPU. Actional's Active Agents are $10,000 per server, and Looking Glass is $75,000.

Even though Sholler said the announcement is hardly a sign that consolidation among the midtier Web services vendors is imminent, he said that their share of the market is shrinking versus the share that's going to the large platform vendors.

"You may not see an overall consolidation," said Sholler, but "a lot of that [infrastructure] business will go toward IBM, BEA, Oracle and Borland, and many of those other vendors will have to shift their value propositions to another market."

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Read The451's analysis of Actional's SOAPswitch product

Read The451's analysis of Systinet's WASP offering

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