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Loosely Coupled weblog

Thursday, April 7, 2005

East vs West?

SOA registry rivals Infravio and Systinet have backgrounds that are almost mirror images of each other. There's a David-and-Goliath flavor to this battle, of course, since Systinet is well established as the registy market leader — and well known to developers through its careful seeding of the market with its freely downloadable registry tools — whereas Infravio is the smaller upstart that is still working to establish its name. But the two between them pretty much own the market. There are other vendors with decent registry products, but they tend to be linked into a broader infrastructure offering. SOA specialists SOA Software (formerly Digital Evolution) and Blue Titan Software, for example, each offer registries as part of their overall SOA fabric infrastructure, and SOA Software in particular (although it does offer it as a standalone option) is marketing the registry as one of the distinctive features of its wider product. As one would expect, several of the bigger enterprise infrastructure vendors have a UDDI-based registry product, including Oracle and Computer Associates, while IBM has a registry option within its WebSphere platform. But none of these are likely to be bought standalone without other elements of the vendor's infrastructure range, even though Computer Associates has been positioning its registry capability as a standalone option. All in all, then, the best-of-breed choice does seem to be a two-horse race at the moment, and Systinet is probably glad to have a bit of competition from Infravio, as customers always push back when they feel they're being given no choice at all.

What I hadn't thought of, until I was chatting yesterday to Miko Matsumura, Infravio's new VP of marketing, was that there's a certain symmetry between these opposing rivals. Former Java evangelist Miko is especially well placed to spot this, having worked for Systinet for a short while before moving on to The Middleware Company (publisher of before being bought by TechTarget) and then finally last month joining Infravio.

Here are two venture-funded startups, each born in the dot-com era with the aim of developing tools that would exploit XML and web services to power the next phase of the Web. Each set up offshore development teams in the home countries of their founders, and here's where the rivalry becomes a bit of an East/West tussle. Systinet's founder, Roman Stanek, set up the company's engineering base in Prague, in Eastern Europe (Roman doesn't compromise on his native roots: he even blogs exclusively in Czech). Two brothers co-founded Infravio, and one of them, CTO Mukund Balasubramanian, after completing his Masters course at Stanford, returned to India to run the company's software development in Chennai.

So here are two companies, one based on the East Coast (Cambridge MA) and whose software is developed in Europe, the other based on the West Coast (Cupertino CA) and whose software is developed in India. Who will prevail? New England or California? Europe or Asia? To be honest, these are far from being the most important distinctions between the two of them. The relative strengths of their products, for example, are much more significant. But nevertheless I felt drawn to share these thoughts with you.

posted by Phil Wainewright 2:56 PM (GMT) | comments | link

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