Progress Software views BPM with Actional SOA tool

By Paul Krill, InfoWorld |  SOA, Actional SOA, BPM

Progress Software is launching its Progress Actional 7.1 SOA management platform Monday, featuring visibility across business processes and into related services and IT infrastructure.

Business processes and BPM systems are tied into the underlying service infrastructure, said Dan Foody, vice president of Actional products at Progress. With Version 7.1, dependencies are revealed between business processes, services, middleware, and databases. Actional can provide proactive management or insight into why a business process failed.

"Now, we can relate the steps in the business process all the way down to the databases at the very end of that chain," so if a database goes down, Actional users can know which steps in the business process might be affected, Foody said.

Also, if a service needs to be changed, or versioned, users can understand the impact of that service alteration. Impacts on applications such as an order entry processing system can be gauged.

Actional's accommodations for BPM are needed, said analyst Frank Kenney, research director at Gartner. "It's something I think is very necessary, and it marks a different movement in the traditional SOA governance technology [space]. It starts to incorporate the notion of integrating with BPM technologies," Kenney said.

Actional is providing visibility into the lifecycle of processes, but it will need to explain its system to customers and prospects, he said.

"The story is incredibly sophisticated, given that many people embarking on SOA governance are still getting their arms around what is a registry and what is a repository," Kenney said.

Progress with Actional 7.1 also has integration with the Lombardi Teamworks BPM system and plans to add integrations with BPM systems from companies such as Software AG and Fujitsu.

Support for Kerberos security also is highlighted. "It makes it easier to tie Windows environments very securely into Unix environments that may be running other security systems like SAML," Foody said.

Also, Actional 7.1 can inspect the payload of messages not based on XML, such as RMI- or Enterprise JavaBeans-based messages. "[This capability] allows you to gain deeper insight into the applications that haven't yet been converted to Web services or may never get converted to Web services," said Foody.

Actional 7.1 is available now with prices starting at US$20,000. Progress acquired Actional about two years ago.

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