Fledgling Web services outfits target bottlenecks

Two emerging companies are working to make Web services more reliable with products that enhance SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) functionality.

Chutney Technologies Inc. announced its Apptimizer for SOAP on April 29, while Parasoft Corp. last week detailed its SOAPtest offering.

Atlanta-based Chutney’s software, compatible with both J2EE and .Net, is designed to eliminate bottlenecks resulting from Web services.

The Chutney product line consists of a SOAP Library, and the Chutney storage engine.

The two work together to eliminate Web services bottlenecks by essentially tapping into an existing SOAP library to identify where the software can reuse data, according to Greg Govatos, vice-president of marketing at Chutney.

When a SOAP call is made the SOAP call checks with the Chutney cache, Govatos said, likening the process to caching in the networks space. “We mitigate the steps that applications need to perform that function.”

Govatos pointed, as an example, to a company that delivers stock quotes across the Internet via the Web services model. Instead of making the system search for stock quotes upon every request, Chutney enables the customer to cache popular results then, in turn, deliver those more quickly.

Bottlenecks occur in pretty much anything that requires a call to databases, mainframes, or other data sources, Govatos said.

Chutney plans to formally announce Apptimizer for SOAP at the upcoming N+I tradeshow next week in Las Vegas. The software will be generally available on June 1.

On the Web services testing front, Parasoft’s SOAPtest tool enables functionality, load and regression testing to find errors in Web services that use the SOAP protocol, the company said.

Parasoft is positioning SOAPtest as software to use early in the Web services development lifecycle to ensure that Web services function properly.

SOAPtest, for instance, can emulate clients and servers to verify that Web services and related components are operating as intended, and that they are scaling when need be. According to the Monrovia, California-based company, SOAPtest can pinpoint sources of error.

The software also can be used to validate, query and transform XML (Extensible Mark-up Language), as well as to create rules to avoid XML errors from multiplying.

Web services are still young enough that not many customers are experiencing bottlenecks or scalability issues, but that will likely change quickly as more companies deploy Web services, according to Michael Hoch, a senior analyst with consultancy Aberdeen Group, based in Boston.

“Right now there aren’t a lot of bottlenecks and problem areas in Web services. But if companies don’t take these potential problems into account during the design phase, they’ll be shut down pretty quickly when they go live with Web services,” Hoch said.

Mark Jones contributed to this article.

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