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Has Software AG Finished Digesting webMethods?

Software AG held its annual Integration World conference in Orlando this week. The name is more appropriate now than ever, as it's still busy integrating its own products with webMethods'.

Though the company's SOA roadmap doesn't call for a full merger of the old webMethods and Software AG lines until mid next year (and that looks likely to slip), it clearly wants people to think that it's ready for more,

announcing partnerships with security gateway maker Layer 7 and business intelligence vendor Cognos . Both are important, but they're better news for the partners than for Software AG.

The partnerships are very similar: Software AG will resell the Cognos and Layer 7 products as part of its own suites, integrating them as necessary. For Layer 7, that means applying policies from CentraSite, the governance registry that pre-acquisition Software AG co-developed with Fujitsu. For Cognos, it means sharing data with the webMethods SOA and BPM suite.

Both product lines have been updated recently: Software AG officially launched a new version of CentraSite last month, and the webMethods suite the month before. But the need to partner with Layer 7 and Cognos demonstrates how the merger still left large gaps in Software AG's portfolio, with the two pre-acquisition product lines more competitive than complementary.

Cognos and Layer 7 have one another thing in common: They’re both the last surviving vendors in their niches, with their direct competitors (like Fuego and Business Objects for Cognos, Reactivity and DataPower for Layer 7) having been acquired. That makes both obvious partners for vendors like Software AG, but also risky ones, as either could be snapped up at any time by someone else.

Partners wouldn't be left completely stranded if Layer 7 and Cognos disappeared, as there are some less direct competitors. For example, although Layer 7 is the last hardware gateway maker left, companies like Vordel offer similar functionality in software. Still, Cognos and Layer 7 both look like they'd have been a better fit than webMethods with Software AG.