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TA001108BPM

Technology Audit
Integration and BPM

iWay Software iWay Service Manager 5.5
Abstract

Written by: Michael Thompson Date: August 2006

The iWay Service Manager can be considered as a third-generation integration product; moving the first and second-generation styles of point-to-point and hub-and-spoke into the new space that allows for more dynamic coupling between applications and infrastructure elements. A SOA helps address the limitations of the previous integration styles – the management complexity and time taken to hand-code interfaces of point-topoint, and the expense and lack of agreed standards in the hub-and-spoke model. The iWay Service Manager is a runtime management system, and is less concerned with the high-level management of the SOA environment (although tools are available for this) than the actuality of ensuring controlled and controllable throughput during the execution of the process or transaction. iWay Service Manager is a complete integrated design environment that removes the need to code interfaces, write process code, and specify translation and transformation routines within the developed process-based applications. iWay Service Manager makes use of two constructs in its operation. Firstly, there are events, which are the messages that flow between systems. Secondly, there are services, which are the processes that are invoked when iWay Service Manager detects events. Although this is the terminology used by iWay to describe the operation of the solution, from an enduser perspective it is simply a complete management solution that can be used with the graphical interface to design process-centric applications without the need for developers to understand or map to the underlying infrastructure. With security such an important consideration in a SOA, it is relevant to note that iWay Software has created a more manageable security environment by decoupling security from the underlying protocols. Implementation for specific projects is simple and can be undertaken in as little as two weeks, and there is a strong provable ROI model. iWay Service Manager is marketed as an Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) and this negates the strong underlying technology of iWay Software’s adapters.

KEY FINDINGS
Removes the need to understand the technical mapping required for SOA. It is a runtime SOA management tool, relevant for high-transaction environments. Utilises the iWay Adapter Suite with over 300 system type adapters.

Key:

Product Strength

Product Weakness

Point of Information

GUI implementation for high-level design of process-centric applications. Security has been decoupled from the underlying chosen protocol. Marketed as an ESB reduces the actual functionality to that of perception.

LOOK AHEAD
The whole area of service management in a SOA environment is inherently complex and requires integration with disparate elements, and support of emerging standards, and iWay Software is aware of these requirements and future releases will ensure compatibility across the whole operational environment.

Analysis without compromise

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FUNCTIONALITY
Product Analysis
Although iWay Service Manager is promoted as an Enterprise Service Bus (ESB), its history goes far beyond the invention of the ESB and relates more to iWay’s core competencies and technical background in the connector and adapter market, and is more relevant to considering the management of a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) from an holistic view rather than focusing on one element of the infrastructure stack. This is especially relevant if one considers an ESB as more of an architectural style reflecting middleware-type functionality rather than a dedicated product. Whatever the view of ESB, there is no doubt that iWay Service Manager addresses the complexity of a SOA in three key areas: • Service Provisioning. • Service Consumption. • Service Composition. The iWay Service Manager can be considered as a third-generation integration product; moving the first and second-generation styles of point-to-point and hub-and-spoke into the new space that allows for more dynamic coupling between applications and infrastructure elements. A SOA helps address the limitations of the previous integration styles – the management complexity and time taken to hand-code interfaces of point-to-point, and the expense and lack of agreed standards in the hub-and-spoke model. However, there are still issues to address, and these can be viewed in the three previously mentioned areas. Service Provisioning – Most of the applications in organisations are not Web service-enabled, and this means that programs have to be written to map the Web service interface to the Application Programming Interface (API). These mapping programmes are required for every process that has to interface with every application. This leads to a large amount of coding, and an ongoing requirement as processes change. Service Consumption – Although all the major application vendors have a stated aim to Web service-enable their offerings, the usability of such solutions will be highly dependent upon the standards implemented to ensure cross-application and cross-process integration. The history of IT is littered with standards-based solutions that failed to reach the agreed interoperability promoted by the use of standards. Although standards are important within any organisation, there has to be a pragmatic view that vendors will adopt those standards that fit most closely with their applications in order to reduce their time to market with the new Web service-enabled applications. Service Composition – Developers creating new processes have to understand a depth of technical detail in order to make the calls to the available Web services. This goes completely against the concept of creating processbased applications in a SOA environment by ‘simply’ assembling those applications from artefacts (such as Web services) that exist both internally and externally and handing off the interface definition to third parties. It really is all about how the interfaces are created, maintained, and managed. There is another aspect of Web services in a transactional environment that also needs to be addressed, and that concerns the number of calls that have to be made for any transaction activity. Without a proper management infrastructure there are typically four calls to be made for each and every transactional activity. As a process can contain a large number of activities, this creates a network bottleneck that causes serious overhead problems, especially in high transaction-throughput environments. As previously stated, the iWay Service Manager is self-classified as an ESB, but it is effectively an abstraction layer that sits on top of the well-established iWay Universal Adapter Suite, with specific-purpose tools that plug in on top of the iWay Service Manager to provide additional functionality. The final point to note before moving on to a more detailed consideration of the solution is that the iWay Service Manager is a runtime management system, and is less concerned with the high-level management of the SOA environment (although tools are available for this) than the actuality of ensuring controlled and controllable throughput during the execution of the process or transaction.

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Product Operation
The high-level architectural design of iWay Service Manager can be seen in Figure 1 below:

Figure 1 – iWay Service Manager High-Level Architecture
iWay Service Manager is a complete integrated design environment that removes the need to code interfaces, write process code, and specify translation and transformation routines within the developed process-based applications. iWay Service Manager makes use of two constructs in its operation. Firstly, there are events, which are the messages that flow between systems. Secondly, there are services, which are the processes that are invoked when iWay Service Manager detects events. Although this is the terminology used by iWay to describe the operation of the solution, from an end-user perspective it is simply a complete management solution that can be used with the graphical interface to design process-centric applications without the need for developers to understand or map to the underlying infrastructure. iWay Service Manager comprises a number of discrete components that carry out specific parts of the design and runtime management.

iWay Application Explorer
The iWay Application Explorer is concerned with the creation and maintenance of services that reuse artefacts existing within the organisational infrastructure. Using the integration into the iWay Universal Adapter suite, proprietary API calls are translated into XML-based services. These services can be called using a variety of standard invocation methods such as Web services or J2EE Connector Architecture (JCA). Through the use of the GUI, users can service-enable existing functionality by a clear and easy method. All that is required is for the user to log into the system or application that contains the required functionality, discover the specific functionality, generate the XML schemas to define service and event formats, and deploy the service to the target environment. Although this sounds both simplistic and complex at the same time, the reality is that it is completely driven through the GUI and so the technical expertise required is kept to a minimum.

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Technology Audit
iWay Service Designer

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The SOA style is to remove the application-dependent code that exists within the services bounded by the applications themselves. iWay Service Designer is a service composition tool that allows developers (or designers) to create business-oriented services at the required level of granularity from fine-grained application-dependent functionality. To a large extent, the question of granularity defines the SOA concept. Services are a set of logically related functionality that can be abstracted from the fine-grained elements within existing applications. The logical relationship, and therefore granularity, is both dependent upon the available functional elements and the requirement of the service consumer. The iWay Service Designer manages the granularity requirement alongside transformations, intelligent routing through the use of rules, and exception handling. The coarse-grained business services once defined are deployed through the iWay Application Explorer as iWay Business Services.

iWay Transformer
In respect of transformations, it is important to note that iWay Service Manager can handle a wide range of transformation requirements. iWay Service Manager uses XML Schema to define the structure of XML documents, and dictionaries to define non-XML document structures. Pre-packaged dictionaries are provided for common non-XML document formats, including: • Comma-delimited files. • Comma-separated values. • EDI X12. • EDIFACT. • ISO 8583. • SWIFT. • XML. • Fixed width. • HIPAA. • HL7. • ATA. If a pre-packaged dictionary is not available then iWay has a dictionary builder tool to define other document structures. Due to the integration between iWay Transformer and iWay Application Explorer, and to a greater extent due to iWay’s long history in the connector and adapter market, iWay Transformer can be used by developers to translate data from over 300 applications, databases, and legacy systems into a common business definition without the need to write any code. Apart from basic input-to-output transformation, iWay Transformer also contains over 200 pre-packaged functions for string manipulation, date handling, arithmetic operations, et al. Should there but requirements that are not available among the provided functionality, then iWay Transformer can be extended by the inclusion of existing C or Java libraries.

Runtime Execution
Although the above tools perform a range of functionality and create a highly-effective development/deployment infrastructure, it is at runtime that iWay Service Manager really comes into its own. The runtime engine is an event-driven integration server. When a message is received it is moved through the pipe with iWay Service Manager processing the events appropriately with the enablement of customised processing, extensions, and recognition of changes to the operating environment.

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iWay utilises event listeners based on both standards-based and proprietary communication protocols, including: • ebXML message service. • EDIINT (AS1, AS2, AS3). • File structures. • FTP. • IMAP. • HTTP. • JMS. • MSMQ. • Oracle AQ. • POP3. • SOAP. • Sonic MQ. • SMTP. • TCP. • TIBCO Rendezvous. • WebSphere MQ. Routing rules control the message path and a variety of rules can be used to ensure complete flexibility: • Fixed routing – simply allows the next process step to occur. • Content-based routing – which routes messages based on element values within a document and other decision-based metrics. • Environment-based routing – which routes messages based on technical context values such as IP address or sender ID. • Function-based routing – which routes messages based on special iWay functions, such as LDAP lookup. There is no more important issue, nor a more contentious one, than that of security within a SOA. Although iWay does not provide a security solution per se, it has recognised the importance of security and supports all the security standards for the communication protocols used. iWay has gone a stage further and has decoupled the security from the protocol, so a range of security can be applied to the protocol used even if this was not an original implementation type. Other aspects of security supported in iWay Service Manager, include: • Encryption/decryption of outbound/inbound messages. • Digital certificates. • Digital signatures. • Keystores. As part of an overall security implementation, iWay Service Manager contains support for both LDAP and Active Directory for identification and authentication management. iWay Service Manager can be configured to listen for changes in the directory and propagate changes through the iWay infrastructure.

Product Emphasis
Although iWay Service Manager is heavily promoted as a Web service platform, it is also highly relevant to nonWeb service architectures. Again, the depth of experience and knowledge within iWay has been leveraged to provide a management platform that is not reliant on Web services and a SOAP interface. As a true SOA will be made up from Web services and other entity types, this is an important consideration. © Butler Direct Limited iWay Software – iWay Service Manager 5.5

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DEPLOYMENT
iWay Service Manager is an enterprise-class server that can be deployed on all major platforms including major UNIX flavours, Microsoft Windows, z/OS, and iSeries. iWay Software has minimised the amount of technical resource required for deployment and generally works with the client during installation and during the first project in order to provide a fast start. Due to the nature of the product, the usual technical integration requirements are removed. Implementation times vary and are project-specific, but vastly reduce the time inherent with more traditional forms of integration. As an example, one client integrated a new Warehouse Management System with its existing systems in seven weeks, and another integrated a range of .NET applications with its PeopleSoft application in two weeks, some 16 weeks less than the time quoted by its PeopleSoft experts. Although there is little need for technical expertise within the organisation, it has to be recognised that there is a strong requirement for knowledge at the level of knowing which services need to be called, and this requires a level of expertise at both the business and application level, although this should be readily available within the organisation. Support is provided with classroom-based training, and/or specific packages available for mentoring; ongoing support of the product is provided through Web and telephone, with a 24x7 support option available. With 60 offices worldwide there is a strong local support network. iWay Service Manager is the foundation architectural element and other requirements will be for adapters specific to a project. Pricing starts at around US$75,000, but typical implementations are between US$100,000 and US$200,000.

PRODUCT STRATEGY
The very nature of the product makes it a horizontal solution and iWay’s strategy is to market it as such, but the company has strong penetration in certain verticals, including healthcare, manufacturing, and local and central government. The target market for iWay has historically been in the large enterprise market, but with this newer, more contained architectural platform, there is now penetration into the SMB space. Typifying ROI measurement is slightly problematic as it is project and environment specific, but iWay Software state that it has seen typical calculations that show 1,000% ROI with a payback period of less than three months. iWay Software primarily operate a direct sales model, but it is increasingly looking towards providing productivity tools for SI partners, and the key business partnerships include Accenture, Bearingpoint, Rapidigm (now part of Fujitsu), among others. There are also key technology partnerships in place, including BEA, SAP, Oracle, IBM, Microsoft, and others. A typical license is perpetual with a 20% annual maintenance cost, but iWay Software does not constrain itself and will work with the client to provide the best option – including leasing.

COMPANY PROFILE
iWay Software was founded in 2001 by its parent company Information Builders, and is headquartered in New York. Information Builders itself is a private company founded in 1975, and it created a middleware technology division in 1991 to create client/server middleware in conjunction with IBM. There are approximately 150 employees in the company, but this does not include the support and services employees that are classed as part of Information Builders, so all but a handful of iWay Software employees are concerned with R&D.

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As a private company, Information Builders does not provide financial information, but iWay Software provides approximately 16% of the total revenue and is in growth as the new architectural styles change the balance between SOA and older integration technologies. Key clients include: • PACCAR. • VP Buildings. • Collections Etc. • State of Delaware. • Samsonite. • Ingram Book. Currently there are approximately 3,500 sites using the technology.

SUMMARY
Although the move towards a SOA environment is often promoted as reducing the need and cost of integration, this is only true if dedicated technology is put in place. A SOA does not in itself remove the requirement for technical integration, it simply creates an opportunity for reduction in integration implementation. Although iWay Service Manager is marketed as an ESB, and does indeed perform the functions most associated with that technology type, it is in fact a more comprehensive solution. iWay Service Manager brings together the ability to move towards a higher level of abstraction for integration/interoperability without ignoring the technical requirements for actually ‘joining up the pieces’. If this appears to be a facile statement, then one should spend some time looking at the reality of a market that in too many instances promises much but does not have the ability to deliver at the technical level. Abstraction in itself does not solve a problem, it merely moves it to a different level for solution, iWay Software has recognised this and has built upon its well-known adapter technology to provide a genuine solution to SOA.

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Technology Audit Contact Details
iWay Software 2 Penn Plaza New York NY, 10121-2898 USA Tel: +1 (212) 330 1700 Fax: +1 (212) 564 1726 E-mail: info@iwaysoftware.com www.iwaysoftware.com iWay Software Beaufort House Cricket Field Road, Uxbridge Middlesex, UB8 1QG UK Tel: +44 (0)845 658 8484 Fax: +44 (0)845 658 8383 E-mail: uk@ibi.com www.informationbuilders.co.uk

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