November 30, 2006, 9:13 AM — Software AG has built a global customer base over 35 years by being an early mover in a couple of major technology trends. The company introduced one of the first databases, Adabas, in the 1970s, a platform-independent computer language, Natural, in the 1980s and an XML (Extensible Markup Language) server, Tamino, in the 1990s.
In an interview with IDG News Service, Peter Kürpick, member of the Software AG executive board responsible for research and development, talked about the company's evolutionary move from XML servers and integration to new products and services needed to build an SOA (service oriented architecture) infrastructure.
IDGNS: How did Software AG enter the middleware market?
Kürpick: In the early 90s, our founder Peter Schnell realized a need to connect various systems so that information flows would not be confined to one system. He started a project, the message broker, which is known today as our enterprise service bus. This technology allows you to connect systems of different kinds to exchange information.
IDGNS: And then the Internet came along. What happened then?
Kürpick: In the mid-1990s when Internet gained momentum, Software AG detected a need for companies to standardize application tools. The standard was XML and became a core business. We tagged ourselves The XML Company. But that tag is going to disappear soon as XML is now pretty much a given in the industry; it's nothing special anymore.
IDGNS: So if you're not going to be The XML Company any longer, what do you want to be?
Kürpick: What we're doing now with SOA is a natural extension of what we've done for the last several years. SOA is a concept of loosely coupling systems and generating new applications based on highly standardized technologies, such as Web services and business process management. We've decided to bring a technology stack to the table that covers all the basic components of SOA. This includes opening up and connecting any kind of system. We have a toolset to connect to those systems. And once you've connected to three or four systems, you'll want to orchestrate a new process that takes data from system "a" to system "b" and beyond. This is where our enterprise service bus comes into play.
Kürpick: We use this technology to develop enterprise screens, or "mashups," that companies can deploy on top of their systems to have an integrated view of data being generated by a variety of applications. This is what our crossvision suite is all about.
IDGNS: How do you make customers understand what SOA is all about?