Actional links Web services monitoring to Microsoft

Actional Corp. is about to announce a bidirectional integration of its Looking Glass Web services monitoring system with the Microsoft Corp.’s Operations Manager (MOM) systems management platform.

Through the arrangement, the Actional and Microsoft systems have access to information detected by the other product, according to Actional. The announcement is being made at Microsoft’s Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles.

“Basically, MOM has access to all of the Web services relations that Looking Glass stores, and Looking Glass has access to all the systems and applications that MOM knows about,” said Dan Foody, chief technology officer at Actional. Looking Glass monitors SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) messages, tracks service-level agreements, and applies policies.

“By sharing information, each operator can get their own unique viewpoint into the overall network,” Foody said. With information such as overflow buffer data from MOM, corrective actions to reroute Web services can be taken in Looking Glass, he said.

“What we’re doing is providing a federated management environment” through the integration, Foody said.

The peer-to-peer integration between the Actional and Microsoft platforms is beneficial, said analyst Jasmine Noel, principal at JNoel Associates.

“Most [products] will send up information to MOM, and that’s it. What these guys do is if MOM sees a problem with an application or server, it sends information to Looking Glass,” Noel said. “If Looking Glass sees that there is a service problem, it can send that information to MOM.”

Launched in support of Microsoft’s Dynamic Systems Initiative, Actional’s integration software for MOM features three components: Actional Web Services Management Pack, to feed information into MOM; Looking Glass MOM Connector, to get data from MOM; and Actional Controls for Visual Studio .Net. The controls enable development of applications that understand the state of a network and can take actions based on the data.

The management pack and connector software ship later this year, while the controls are due in early-2004. The Actional-MOM capabilities are to be included as part of the core Looking Glass product. Looking Glass pricing starts at US$100,000.

Actional declined to speculate on a recent suggestion by Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer that Microsoft may be interested in acquiring a Web services management vendor.