iWay unwraps SOA framework

Integration adapter maker pulls together existing technologies, new product into design-time environment

iWay Software on Monday announced the Adaptive SOA Framework, a collection of existing and new tools bound together to make it easier for companies to expose applications as Web services within an SOA.

"We've taken SOA to heart and recognized that loose-coupling is the way to go," said John Senor, president of iWay. "The Adaptive SOA Framework pulls together a number of products that were disparate into a single design-time environment."

Adaptive SOA Framework consists of iWay's Adapter Manager, Application Explorer, Adapter Designer, Adapter Transformer, and the new Trading Manager.

Adapter Manager is iWay's run-time engine and controls service interactions among iWay's 280 adapters. Built on a service bus, Senor explained that Adapter Manager is not one of the products other vendors lump into the ESB (enterprise services bus) category because "we do not believe in locking customers into a messaging transport protocol." Instead, iWay supports multiple protocols, such as HTTP, TCP/IP, and Sonic MQ.

Benoit Lheureux, research director in Gartner's infrastructure and architecture group, said that the support for multiple buses is good for customers.

"[iWay] doesn't have its own bus, so they rely on someone else's bus if you want to scale this thing up," Lheureux said. "[But] a lot of iWay users don't need a bus."

Also in the framework, Application Explorer enables users to locate services within applications, expose those as Web services, and generate schema for transactions or generate WSDL. iWay's Adapter Designer allows developers to define processes that can then be exposed as what the company calls "smart adapters" through JCA, Web services, or other messaging interfaces. The Adapter Transformer, for its part, can be used to map messages from one format to another, for instance transforming documents into XML.

The new product iWay introduced as part of the framework is Trading Manager, which Senor called "a business-to-business partner agreement manager." Trading Manager, the company said, correlates documents and transactions across trading partner and service channels.

Gartner's Lheureux explained that the suite approach that iWay and competitors such as Pervasive Software and NetManage take varies philosophically from the bus approach in that iWay's sweet spot is point-to-point integration.

"A lot of [customer] organizations treat integration on a project-by-project basis," Lheureux said. "There's a role for point-to-point integration, even next to a big bus approach."

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