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Loosely Coupled weblog

Friday, February 18, 2005

Naming the leaders in SOA management

Loosely Coupled this week launched its first standalone report, the SOA Management 2005 Report. The 40-page document gives detailed evaluations of 14 SOA management vendors, and also includes case studies, a market overview, and other valuable information. This is such an important event for us that we actually issued our first press release to announce it. The report retails for $145, and there are money-saving deals available if you subscribe at the same time to the Loosely Coupled monthly digest.

This is a project that's been in the works for about eight months, so it's very satisfying for it to see the light of day at last. Why did we pick SOA management as a topic? You may well ask. We could have done all manner of hotter topics, including ESB, web services security or even the increasingly fascinating field of XML routers. But SOA management is where we have the most expertise — easily more than the big-name analysts including Gartner, vendors tell us — so we decided to start with what we're really good at. Some of the other subjects — which, to be honest, we've become equally good at by now — we'll cover in subsequent reports over the course of the year.

Several interesting things emerge in the report. I can only touch on a few of them here, but of course if the information is important to you then I urge you to purchase the report. I think you'll find it well worth the investment.

One thing we were determined to do was to give some hard information about how well vendors are actually doing at selling their solutions to real customers. One of the most difficult things to establish in an early market like this is who's doing well and who's just pretending to. All vendors talk about their blue-chip clients, but often if they have an impressive customer logo on their site, it simply means the customer bought a single license for a proof-of-concept. We've ignored deals like those (we class them as 'early engagements') and just counted the contracts where the customer has actually bought and implemented software for production use, to the value of $100k or more.

When you narrow it down like that, you find that even the vendors that are doing well have no more than around 15 such projects, and many have far fewer. Interestingly, the back of the pack are big names like CA, with just two customers in production, and HP, with none.

We've categorized the 14 suppliers into four groupings: Leaders, Challengers, Heavyweight Contenders and Noteworthy. It was interesting to see Oblix getting into the Leaders category. I must admit I personally didn't expect to see much happen as a result of their acquisition a year ago of Confluent Software. It turns out I was wrong. Oblix have really gotten in the saddle and racked up some substantial customer wins for the management product in its own right. That earned them a Leaders ranking. Our other leaders are more predictable; AmberPoint, Actional and Digital Evolution, although the latter was such a dark horse a year ago that we actually omitted the company from a preliminary survey we published of the sector in our April 2004 monthly digest.

It's been such a hectic week getting all this organized that I'm actually a few days late in announcing it here in this blog (and in several other aspects of site maintenance, so I have a bit of catching up to do over the next few days). We released the report to monthly digest subscribers almost two weeks ago, and it's been for sale from the website ever since. Just complete the simple order form, pay by card, and you'll be sent an ID and password to download your copy.

posted by Phil Wainewright 10:17 PM (GMT) | comments | link

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