CA WORLD: Web services management on the horizon

LAS VEGAS – Computer Associates International Inc. introduced five new solutions Monday in a bid to tackle various aspects of Web services management.

The solutions, which fall under the Islandia, N.Y.-based company’s Unicenter and eTrust brands, will cover the performance, reliability and security management aspects of enterprise and customer-facing Web services, the firm said at this year’s CA World conference.

During a press conference Monday, Don LeClair, who works for CA’s office of the CTO, said the new offerings will focus on managing Web services from a business process level. “Web services are typically very close to the business process,” said LeClair. CA hopes to “provide visibility and accountability to that level,” as well as “increase enterprise responsiveness,” he added.

Nick Gall, senior vice-president and principal analyst with research firm Meta Group Inc. in Stamford, Conn., talked about what the industry needs in order for Web services to continue moving forward. “Web services are reaching ubiquity,” Gall said, because they are a “simple, yet effective means of integrating existing applications.”

Ideally, the focus of Web services should be on interoperability and the flexibility to work with a customer’s existing infrastructure, without the need to “rip and replace” with totally different products, Gall said. “We must span and encapsulate existing complexity.”

Web services extensibility is also essential in order to ensure future innovation. Federation, or the ability of Web services to “work across technological, management, security and business boundaries,” is also key, Gall noted.

At this time, he added, Web services mostly address business architecture needs, but what is needed is a more overarching approach where management and security-related architecture is also top of mind.

Dmitri Tcherevik, vice-president and director of Web services for CA’s office of the CTO, said that in the security space, management products “have traditionally been focused on transport security,” or protection of data during transmission. But by just focusing on transport, customers “cannot delivery end-to-end security,” he said, adding that the management of encryption, delivery and sign-in protection is also crucial.

The release of eTrust Directory 4.1, according to CA, provides an enterprise-ready UDDI implementation suitable for large-scale deployment and support of Web services, and the ability to replicate and distribute more than 100 million individual entries of Web services data.

In addition, CA released Unicenter Web Services Distributed Management (WSDM), a solution for monitoring Web services across the enterprise. WSDM, according to Tcherevik, offers an automatic discovery function and the ability to monitor Web services so IT organizations can track performance indicators and respond to service interruptions. “The business manager or team can define a group or define the monitors,” he explained. For example, they can set up a response-time monitor that will send out an alert message if a response to a particular action doesn’t appear within a pre-defined time frame.

Also on the release list are new versions (3.5) of Unicenter Management for WebSphere and WebLogic which will monitor Web services deployed within the context of the J2EE application server, and facilitate the automatic discovery of both deployed Web services and their interfaces. Finally, the Unicenter Management for .Net framework 3.0 will provide monitoring of Web services deployed within the .Net framework context.

For CA, Web services is a “strategic initiative across the board,” and the firm has set up a team dedicated to the development and delivery of specific and focused new products, all the while concentrating on standards, which are huge drivers of Web services activity, LeClair noted.

Tcherevik agreed that standards are paramount. “Web services will never be controlled by one company,” he said, adding that in recognition of the role standards play, CA is both participating in and contributing to the related standards bodies.

CA World continues through Thursday.