With every new IT paradigm comes a clutch of start-ups with names supposedly as radical as their technologies. And web services, the revolutionary application development and deployment approach for the ‘discovery’, assembly and execution of application components as a service over the Internet, is no exception.
Talking Blocks, Jamcracker, Collaxa and Infravio all claim to provide the vital web services management function that is currently missing
from today’s stack of XML-based web services technologies.
But one young company in that sector claims it stands apart, and not just because it changed its name from the quirky Corporate Oxygen to the more corporate Confluent Software: Its founders claim to have invented web services.
Confluent’s team sprung from the pioneering work on web services started back in the mid-1990s at Hewlett-Packard (HP), that resulted in e-Speak, a loosely packaged of web services software that HP decided to axe in June 2002.
Spearheading the team are CEO Rajiv Gupta, previously general manager and ‘visionary’ at the e-Speak unit, and chief technology officer Sekhar Sarukkai, technical architect on the e-Speak team. They have led the development of three core tools: Core Integrator, an integration server that acts as an intelligent router for web services; Core Manager, an analytics console that measures service levels; and Core Analyser, providing real-time monitoring of business processes.
Emerging from ‘stealth mode’ in October 2002, Confluent has already signed up three customers, companies that are looking to plug the management gap in web services and add high levels of reliability and performance to web services projects.
However, the company’s close association with HP is a double-edged sword. The Confluent team are drawing on HP’s sound pedigree in systems management with its OpenView product, but that is offset by the e-Speak team’s failure to articulate a clear vision for the former HP product or to package it as a mainstream product. The same team think they get both right second time around.