Looking to provide business agility, IBM is rolling out on Thursday a slew of products in the version 7 upgrade to its WebSphere middleware portfolio.
Available later this year, the products run the gamut from the BPM space to an enterprise service bus and a hardware-based messaging appliance. The rollout focuses on what the company calls the SOA, BPM, and business strategy layers for IT.
[ Also this week, Tibco upgraded its BPM platform, offering business intelligence capabilities. ]
"What we've done is we have invested [in] and are releasing concurrently the version 7 of our portfolio that is aligned to bring about the value of business agility," through the three layers, said Craig Hayman, general manager of WebSphere at IBM.
IBM with its WebSphere release is incorporating agile development practices, said Brad Shimmin, principal analyst for application infrastructure at Current Analysis. "They're able to better release features the users want in a more timely manner," Shimmin said.
The WebSphere BPM suite is being fitted with a native container as part of the platform's SCA (Service Component Architecture) capabilities. With this container, users can take the definition of a business process and turn it into an executing system in one click, Hayman said. SCA, Shimmin said, enables IBM to make its software more modular.
Also featured is "in-flight" change management for business processes. "You'll be able to modify that business process as it is executing," said Hayman.
Integrated governance and policy management is featured in the BPM suite to better bridge the conversation between business and IT leaders, he said.
IBM also has improved its cloud-based BPM BlueWorks environment for understanding business management. "We have enhanced the prebuilt industry content," adding capability and process maps across a variety of industries, said Hayman. BlueWorks allows for testing new and existing processes by modeling them in a cloud environment.
The version 7 WebSphere rollout, which functions with the WebSphere 7 application server introduced last year, also includes IBM WebSphere Ilog JRules 7.0, for managing business rules. Capabilities are featured for automating decisions in mainframe applications.
IBM acquired Ilog last year. "We have now integrated Ilog with our version 7 release," Hayman said.
WebSphere Process Server v7, which is the engine inside IBM's BPM stack, is being introduced to provide standards-based process solutions with capabilities for administering human workflow processes. Providing for integrated governance and policy management is WebSphere Registry and Repository and Advanced Lifecycle Edition v7. It boosts business/IT awareness with interface and analysis tools and offers a view of services with federated impact analysis and change management, IBM said.
Another part of the rollout, WebSphere Business Events and Extreme Scale v7, enables responses to high-volume, real-time events, including events from industry applications. WebSphere Message Broker v7 and WebSphere Enterprise Service Bus v7 provide business information across SOA domains with a service federation management capability and standards support. The two technologies also enable improved dynamic business interactions by exploiting integration with WebSphere technologies such as WebSphere MQ and the application server.
IBM with its ESB is providing its own set of cueing and error-handling routines for transactions, saving developers themselves from having to develop these, Shimmin said. "With this version of the ESB, the ESB itself does that," he said.
A hardware appliance, DataPower XB60, connects with trading partners through improved business-to-business messaging protocol support.
Other products in the rollout include:
- WebSphere Industry Content Packs, which are templates for deploying industry assets across more processes .
- WebSphere Transformation Extender, for transforming data between different endpoints. Prebuilt transformations are featured for health care standards such as HIPAA.