Iona adds repository tool for SOAs

Iona Technologies Inc. is broadening its suite of Artix infrastructure software with a new tool announced Monday for managing software services in an SOA environment.

Called Artix Registry/Repository 1.0, the tool acts as a catalog that lists the software services available to developers in a company, including information about who can use the services and how they should be deployed, said Sean Baker, Iona cofounder and chief scientist.

SOA, or service-oriented architecture, refers to a type of software development in which applications are created by assembling independent, reusable software services. Repository tools are important because they store information about the services' policies, contracts and dependencies, said Ron Schmelzer, a senior analyst at ZapThink LLC.

Many of the big SOA vendors, including BEA Systems Inc. and IBM Corp., offer repository tools already. Iona has partnered for its repository tool in the past but will now have a product of its own.

The tool is an addition to Iona's SOA Infrastructure Suite, which includes an Enterprise Service Bus for managing and routing software services. It is due for release April 15, priced starting at $45,000 for storing up to 10 services, Iona said.

The tool is designed for use in complex, distributed SOA (software oriented architecture) environments. It supports multiple service-types including Web services, CORBA services and others, Baker said. Companies should consider a registry if they have more than 30 to 40 technology services, or more than 10 complete business services, he said.

"The registry is a record of the services that exist," Baker said. "You have the basic information you need to search for services and avoid replicating the wheel. The repository adds richer information, like which applications are using which services, so you can learn about dependencies and find out, if you make a change, what will be the implications of that change."

Iona hopes to differentiate itself by also providing in its repository information about how services must be implemented and configured, something it claims is unique to Artix.

"Because this is a distributed infrastructure, not all of the services will be implemented on top of [the same platform], so we provide a record of the implementation details, the configuration details," Baker said. That makes it easier to take a service and deploy it quickly on a different server, he said.

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