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Rollout: Software AG WebMethods Suite

The Upshot

By absorbing WebMethods, Software AG aims to offer a complete application integration suite that spans from legacy integration enablement through SOA to BPM. Although products will be merged, the upgrade path will be smooth, giving customers of each vendor access to the capabilities of the other.
Software AG has a large customer base in Europe, WebMethods in the United States. Together, they could be nearly as large an SOA player as IBM, which was already Software AG's main competitor. WebMethods' main competitor in the registry space was Systinet. Other major competitors with full SOA suites include Oracle, BEA, Iona, Sun and Tibco, with Cape Clear, Fiorano, Iona, Red Hat, Microsoft, Vitria and LogicLibrary competing in some important areas.
Software AG looks able to deliver on its promises, but everything will depend on migration: In the long term, the Infravio registry and the CrossVision ESB are both going away. Products from partners such as WebMethods' SOA-Link alliance will also be necessary for real-time management.

Software AG WebMethods Suite

Most consolidation in the service-oriented architecture middleware space is driven by vendors seeking to plug gaps in their own product lines, giving them a more complete suite. But the biggest deal so far, Software AG's planned acquisition of WebMethods, is different. As far as SOA is concerned, the two are competitors: Each has a strong and popular offering in the enterprise service bus (ESB) and design-time governance areas, but relies on partnerships or third-party products for runtime management and enhanced security.

At the time it announced the acquisition, Software AG said that it planned to maintain all of its own and WebMethods' products. This was met with widespread disbelief, as the ESB and governance offerings were so similar that few vendors would want to keep both going indefinitely. A more detailed road map has since revealed that the two ESBs will indeed be merged into one, as will the governance products. The ESB will come from WebMethods, the governance platform from Software AG. The entire SOA suite will be sold under the WebMethods brand name.

Software AG admits that rather than technology, the acquisition was motivated primarily by WebMethods' customer base: Though there's some overlap, WebMethods sells primarily in North America, Software AG in Europe. Their largest competitor worldwide is IBM, with Oracle, BEA, Sun Microsystems, and Tibco also offering complete suites in both the ESB and governance spaces. Unlike its major competitors, Software AG doesn't make application servers themselves, which can be seen as either a hole in its product line or an opportunity to help bridge the multiple platforms customers are using.

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