SAP is eliminating a common language barrier in service oriented architectures by partnering with Blue Titan Inc., a Web services management vendor that sells SOA networking software.
Blue Titan's Network Director software gained certification to run on SAP's NetWeaver platform. Blue Titan's product acts as a router in a service oriented architecture, translating XML/SOAP messages that allow programs to communicate between SAP and non-SAP systems.
The software creates intelligent networks so companies can establish and enforce security and reliable messaging policies, said Blue Titan CEO, Frank Martinez.
"The success of NetWeaver means that companies will be deploying composite applications and creating services in heterogeneous environments," Martinez said. "We make it easier to take those heterogeneous environments and make them work through the enterprise service repository and let NetWeaver take advantage of all a company's investments."
SAP, Oracle and IBM are filling gaps to speed the flow of data between applications and systems in an SOA, said Dana Gardner, principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions LLC. SAP has made a commitment to SOA by moving its entire internal development to SOA and service-enabling its own software, he said.
"The amount of XML traffic will accelerate rapidly and it's incumbent that vendors like SAP build, buy or partner in order to satisfy the optimization needs for XML performance," Gardner said. "SAP recognizes the value of SOA internally and in a sense they're eating their own dog food first before taking it out into the marketplace and that's case with many of the larger software vendors."
Some major companies are already shifting their systems toward a SOA.
British American Tobacco is implementing mySAP ERP, and using Blue Titan's product as it reduces the number of its SAP instances from more than a dozen, globally, to six. The company is the first customer to create a services networking infrastructure in an SAP context, Martinez said.
"Companies shouldn't have to resort to a rip and replace requirement to advance their technology," Martinez said. "Our product helps companies maintain some of their most important investments and provide a cushion for a soft landing."
A company can initially deploy Network Director on a project basis. Pharmaceutical maker, Pfizer is starting out relatively small, deploying Blue Titan's product in one division to ensure that the approvals process is working well within a specific department to meet FDA regulations.
"It's designed to be rolled out incrementally and scaled to an enterprise level," Martinez said. "It can be deployed to handle small projects all the way to routing millions of messages through it every day."
Blue Titan is monitoring SOA standards developments
Back in March, a group of large vendors, including IBM, Oracle and SAP, blended Service Component Architecture (SCA) and Service Data Objects (SDO) into a new SOA Programming Model. The new model combines and eases the development of neutral interfaces to access data from multiple implementations and locations.
The specifications reduce complexity for developers building applications by providing a way to unify services regardless of programming language and deployment platform. The new programming model affects Blue Titan profoundly, Martinez said.
"In my opinion it is one of the watershed moments we've seen in a move to architectural style computing," he said. "It affects us in that now there are a lot more resources, frameworks and environments around the periphery of a service network that companies can take advantage and be more efficient."
SAP has determined the need for standards to allow developers to build software that integrates across different vendor platforms. Standards also enable companies to create in-house applications and allow business analysts to develop applications with standardized tools.