Progress Software today announced new products from two of its SOA divisions. Sonic is moving further into the management space with SDM (Sonic Deployment Manager) while Data Direct is releasing Shadow 7, a new version of its mainframe integration package that features improved support for SOA standards and IBM's zSeries hardware.
SOA management vendors have been offering an increasing amount of management functionality, so it isn't surprising to see ESB vendors like Sonic fight back by improving their own management features. However, Progress also owns Web services management vendor Actional, so Sonic can't get too far into the agent-based or general application serverSDM is aimed specifically at Sonic's own ESB and MQ products, featuring both run-time management and design-time testing and simulation tools.
The most important new features in Shadow 7 are support for BPEL (business process execution language) and the ability to run on IBM's zIIP (Integrated Information Processor) and zAAP (Application Assist Processor) Specialty Engine modules. BPEL support illustrates how ESB functionality is being commoditized, as it allows the DataDirect software to perform higher-level orchestration rather than just act as an interface to the mainframe. Running the software on the Specialty Engines rather than the zSeries mainframe itself could save some DataDirect customers a lot of money in zSeries license fees, as IBM's metered pricing only applies to the mainframe itself, not the Specialty Engines.
Notably absent from the announcement is any kind of integration between Sonic and DataDirect, which continues Progress' strategy of running the two (and Actional) as separate businesses. Progress even says that the two announcements aren't connected, which is probably true up to a point. They both look like they're timed to coincide with the first day of IBM's Information on Demand conference.