Hewlett-Packard Co. today released a proposed Web services standard that it said will help companies manage such services, as well as the applications and platforms on which they run.
The Web Services Management Framework 2.0 specification is available as a free download on HP's developer site, and the company said it plans to submit the proposal to the Boston-based Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) on July 28 for review.
HP officials may have some company when they make their formal proposal during the next "face-to-face" meeting of OASIS' Web Services Distributed Management technical committee.
Corey Ferengul, vice president and principal analyst at Meta Group in Stamford, Conn., said another "very big vendor" also plans this week to announce a Web services management standard that it will submit to OASIS. He declined to name the vendor until getting more details.
"The good news is [that] instead of just releasing their own tools that are going to be using a different standard, it looks like both organizations -- HP and the other -- would both be submitting them to OASIS to then arbitrate," Ferengul said.
That would be a good thing for users, he said, because in the past, "everyone's just gone off and done things their own way."
A spokesman for OASIS said there's been no official submission yet from HP or any other vendor in this arena.
Data about Web services exposed
Joe McGonnell, director of HP's Web Services Management Organization, called the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company's proposal a "logical" framework for how Web services will "expose" management information about themselves. It's also a framework for the management of applications -- and any other virtual IT asset -- through Web services, he said.
"The biggest highlight is that it's using Web services to do management -- not just manage Web services, which is something different," said Ferengul. "We typically bolt management on to the side, independent of whatever it's managing. This says, 'Let's make the management an integral part of whatever we're managing.' "
Using the framework, a management interface can communicate knowledge about changes in business processes and IT infrastructure whenever application and infrastructure events occur, HP said in its announcement.
Will this framework help speed the adoption of Web services? Yes, said Ferengul. He said it will become part of a bigger effort by OASIS, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and others to "help companies gain confidence in Web services."
"One of the big barriers to Web services is that no one knows how to manage them," Ferengul said. He said companies have difficulty understanding whether their Web services are active, whether they are down and whether they are properly operating.
"While [this] standard doesn't propose to solve all of those issues, it does propose to be a big step forward in them."
Framework is platform-neutral
Mark Linesch, vice president of HP's Adaptive Enterprise Group, said the draft framework was created with the input of several HP partners, including Sun Microsystems, BEA Systems, Iona, WebMethods, Ascential, Tibco Software and Informatica.
HP said Web Services Management Framework 2.0 can manage Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE), .NET and other platforms.
McGonnell said early plans call for the specification to be finalized in January 2004. He also hinted that other vendors might be preparing their own proposed Web services management standards in time for the July 28 meeting. "If there are other companies submitting proposals, they can do so as well," McGonnell said.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Download: Web Services Management Framework 2.0
Definition: Web services
Web Services Decisions: The truth about Web services