October 31, 2007, 4:53 PM — Three issues that rise to the top fast when developing a service-oriented architecture
are governance, quality, and management. In this article, part of a Network
World Data Center series on SOA, learn about 10 tools designed to help you
build better apps and spot performance problems before they boil over.
Service-oriented architecture promises many positives: resource reuse, application
integration, business agility and infrastructure flexibility, among others.
But never do SOA proponents claim ease of management as one of the technology's
Many of today's management tools are not granular enough to work in an SOA
environment, says Rich Colton, application-integration manager at engineering
and construction company Washington Group International in Boise, Idaho. "That's
what has been lagging. Everybody says we need to manage the infrastructure,
but first I need to understand what kind of resources we're demanding out of
that infrastructure," he says.
The complex nature of SOA requires more than monitoring in production networks.
IT managers must apply the technology trifecta of governance, quality and management
tools, industry watchers say.
"Enterprise IT managers need to understand what part of SOA they are dealing
with and what part they want to manage right now. It's not often a stand-alone
product situation," says Randy Heffner, a Forrester Research analyst. "Sooner
or later, if you are doing strategic SOA, you will need robust SOA management;
and to get comparable functionality, you may have to get a set of products,
rather than just one."
So, despite the promised benefits of a services-oriented approach, the complexity
of SOA environments and applications demands management tools from inception
to deployment to operations and beyond. In the face of such complexity, numerous
vendors -- newcomers and veterans alike -- have taken on the challenge of SOA
management. Some are tackling a specific stage in an SOA project's life cycle,
while others are promising to address SOA in its entirety.
Here are 10 tools focused on addressing SOA's unique management challenges.
1. AmberPoint's SOA Management System
What does the product do? A policy-based run-time governance software suite,
SOA Management System incorporates applications designed to address SOA performance
in production. The suite includes a run-time repository, service network monitoring,
SOA security, service-level monitoring and more.
Who's using the product? BT Group, H&R Block, Motorola and the U.S. Department
of Defense, among others.