Software AG Updates webMethods with ‘Elastic ESBs’ for Easy Integration Scale-Up

Software AG is bringing intelligent “elastic ESB” features to its next version of the webMethods integration platform. webMethods 9.5 will for the first time let IT dynamically spin up new instances of its enterprise service bus to cope with peak volumes or other performance issues. IDN speaks with Software AG’s Mark Herring.

Tags: BPM, cloud, ESB, mobile, integration, SLA, Software AG, SOA, webMethods, expert voice,

Mark Herring
senior vice president
product marketing

"With webMethods 9.5, users can create a new instance of their integration server with all parameters to meet peak volumes or other KPIs "

Software AG is bringing intelligent elastic ESB features to its next version of the webMethods integration platform. webMethods 9.5 for the first time will let IT dynamically spin up new instances of its enterprise service bus to cope with peak volumes or other performance issues.

With an “elastic ESB,” customers can dynamically scale their implementations into private and public clouds. This allows customers to handle peak demands and quickly bring on new capacity without downtime or manual intervention, Software AG’s senior vice president for product marketing Mark Herring told IDN 

For IT operations, this “elastic ESB” feature works very similar to how IT deals with spinning up instances for the dev/test and cloud projects, Herring said. “Customers have long wanted this functionality but the technology just hasn’t been there to easily enable it for integration capabilities,” he added. 

It required Software AG to do some innovative under-the-covers engineering in webMethods to make spinning up, and (spinning down) an ESB across internal or cloud infrastructures as easy as working with traditional images, Herring added. Among the top technologies were to add a lot more traffic monitoring features as well as new technologies to make it easy for IT to spin down their newly-added instances when not needed – without disrupting operations, he said.  

Herring described the end-user result of all this work:

“A customer may be running at a certain capacity and wants to handle more volume to deal with demand, such as processing at the end of the month or dealing with holiday web traffic, If they need that extra capacity, they should be able to put it where they need it. So, users can easily create a new instance of their integration server with all parameters being the same, and automatically or manually bring up a new instance to meet peak volumes or other KPIs,” he said. Notably, these ESB instances can run on-premise, in private clouds or in the public cloud, Herring added.

According to a Software AG blog post,  the elastic ESB operates this way under the covers:

Once provisioned and enabled in Command Central (and paid for), webMethods elastic ESB, automatically launches a new instance in the data center. Subject to network configuration, latency, data load etc., this can happen in as little time as a few minutes. Software AG built an orchestration layer that automatically sets up a VPN and configures a virtual CPU in the environment of your choice.

This focus on dynamic integration capabilities may also soon help Software AG deliver these features to IaaS and cloud service providers looking for simpler and low-cost easy to expand integration support for IT departments and even SaaS providers, Herring added. 

Software AG’s webMethods 9.5 Updates for BPM, Mobile
To better enable mobile monitoring of BPM, webMethods 9.5 sports a rich and real-time pre-built app to find and resolve issues with “in process” tasks. Users can receive alerts, conduct drill-down troubleshooting and even resolve issues. This is because the app provides users aggregated views of process instances and will give instant insight into stalled or failed processes. To help diagnose and resolve the issue, it provides users a UI that graphically visualizes the failed step.

“What’s really new here is that this isn’t something you have to build. With webMethods it now comes already built,” Herring said. “While many [companies] offer a platform that lets customers build this kind of app. we’ve heard directly from customers ‘Why can’t I just get this already built for me?’ So, we think this is a real benefit.” The app is available to webMethods 9.5 for download in the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Other notable webMethods 9.5 feature upgrades include:

  • Updated “model-to-execute” functionality and methodology. These automate the alignment of business process analysis with automated system- and task-based business processes.
  • Stage and milestone support. To provide LOB, IT and process owners high-level visibility into process status so they can more quickly understand whether SLAs have been reached or breached across the key milestones that constitute their business processes.
  • New “social guidance” tools. These tools aim to help users be more effective and efficient in managing and completing tasks. Tasks can be tagged to facilitate the identification of expert resources so that work can be automatically routed to the best expert available, or to help a call center worker identify the best workers to receive the call. </LI>

For all the new features, the biggest news for webMethods uses may be how Software AG is changing how it will release future upgrades, Herring told IDN.

“The big story behind the story of webMethods 9.5 is that we’ve changed our release cycle,” he said. “We used to do big releases every 18 months or so. But, we’ve heard some customers want access to some smaller set of features sooner, without having to do a big major release.  Internally we already use an agile release cycle, so we’re updating code and looking at those every week or so. So, we’re positioned, starting with this release, to come out with updates every six months or so,” Herring added.

The new approach to webMethods releases, added to the “elastic ESB” capabilities to run images in parallel will add up to a better user experience when it comes to the nerve-wracking task of upgrading business-critical integration infrastructure, Herring said. “Starting with this [webMethods] release, we are now providing users with enhanced upgradability and giving them more visibility and peace of mind when they look to upgrade.”