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System Vendors Sight SOA

HP, IBM, and Sun are fixed on the emerging market for products and services built on service-oriented architectures

With users struggling to run different business services across an increasingly complex landscape of data center hardware and software, service-oriented architecture (SOA) technologies are being touted as a solution by vendors such as IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM), Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ), and Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW).

The major vendors today fleshed out their long-term SOA strategies, with IBM opening its arms to partners based on its WebSphere family of middleware products, and HP unveiling a range of consulting services and new competency centers for customers. Sun snapped up SOA specialist SeeBeyond Technology Corp. (see IBM Rolls Out SOA Initiative, HP Expands SOA Services, and SeeBeyond Sucked Into Sun).

The concept of SOA is to let users run services in the form of application software across different computing environments. Analyst firm Gartner Inc.

predicts that, by 2008, most application revenue will come from products conforming to an SOA.

IBM is already pushing some of its WebSphere portfolio as SOA products, including the Application Server and Information Integrator. The vendor also offers a set of industry-specific tools that sit on top of WebSphere to help users develop SOA models. Sandy Carter, a WebSphere vice president, tells NDCF that products within IBMs Rational and Tivoli divisions also can be used, respectively, for managing and developing SOA applications.

HP, however, which does not own a specific middleware technology, is taking a different tack. With its new consulting services, HP is looking to act as an integrator for SOA technologies from different vendors. “You can position us as Switzerland,” says Mark LaJeunesse, HP’s worldwide SOA manager. “We’re not looking to sell a specific middleware solution.”

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