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Will HP's Extended GIF Partnership Help With SOA Interoperability?

HP is updating its Systinet software and announcing 10 new partners in its Governance Interoperability Framework

Hewlett-Packard today launched new versions of Systinet and SOA Manager, adding new features aimed at runtime governance -- enforcing the policies that traditional design-time registries and repositories define. It's also announcing a large expansion of its Governance Interoperability Framework (GIF), a set of specifications that smooth links between the registry or repository and other components.

The expansion of GIF is largely through 10 new partners, all of whom will support the spec. The single most important new partner is Oracle, which is already a major player in SOA and is set to become more so with its acquisition of BEA Systems (already a GIF member). The most interesting looks like LogicLibrary, a specialist registry/repository vendor and Systinet competitor. Its support turns GIF from what had been a Systinet-centric program into something more vendor neutral.

Most of the XML security gateway industry has also joined the GIF program: HP is announcing support form Cisco Systems, Alcatel-Lucent, Vordel, and Layer 7 Technologies, which leaves IBM DataPower the only major player in XML security that's not involved. The other four new members are orchestration specialist Active Endpoints and Web 2.0 development tool vendors JackBe, Nexaweb, and Sonoa Systems, which could help to bridge the gap between rich Internet applications and SOA back-end systems.

But not everyone has embraced GIF. The main competitor is SOA Link, a similar program started by Infravio before it was acquired by WebMethods and then Software AG. Though the two are incompatible, there's nothing to stop vendors from supporting both, which is what most seem to be doing: Many of HP's new partners are also part of SOA Link, indicating that the industry is hedging its bets. The sudden move to GIF may also indicate uncertainty about SOA Link's direction under its new ownership.

HP's new software (Systinet 2.52 and SOA Manager 2.5) tries to close the loop between design-time governance and runtime management, something several other vendors are working on. Aside from IBM, the closest competitor is SOA Software (also not a GIF member), which comes from the management space. The move may also put HP into increased competition with management vendors AmberPoint and Actional, which were among its earliest GIF partners.

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