Saturday, February 24, 2007

SOA Consolidation

Reactivity was purchased by Cisco for a cool $135MM, making it the largest acquisition in the SOA space. DataPower (aquired by IBM for ~$105MM and Systinet (acquired by Mercury for ~$102MM) were the other >$100MM acquisitions. Other smaller ones include Sarvega (acquired by Intel for ~$40MM), Conformative (acquired by Intel for ~$32MM), Infravio (acquired by webMethods for ~$38MM) pretty much consolidated the space leaving Forum Systems, Layer7, SOA Software and Amberpoint as the independent private companies. Further consolidation is inevitable.

The second wave of SOA Infrastructure startups in underway. Andrew Nash, CTO of Reactivity, started a company focused on XML identity. Sonoa Systems is the Next Gen XML Infrastructure Company still in stealth mode and is funded by SAP Ventures, Norwest Ventures, and Bay Partners.

Ofcourse, all XML/SOA infrastructure companies will require extensive SOA Testing to make their products enterprise ready. They will have to deal with the extensive web services/XML standards such as WS-Security, its profiles such as User Name, X.509, Kerberos, SAML tokens as well as SOAP signatures and encryption. Starting XML/SOA infrastructure companies from scratch will enable such new startups to build ground up on relatively newer and useful standards such as WS-Policy, WS-SecureConversation, etc. The second cycle will be shorter with exits taking 3-4 years unlike the 5+ years needed by the 1st wave of SOA consolidations.

For an interesting interview on Sonoa by Eric Knorr, see this video clip.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Testing SOA Applications: App Labs Article

AppLabs Technologies is a Sequoia Funded testing company based in Hyderabad, India. AppLabs services encompass Functional, Performance, and Quality Testing with a distinctive SOA Testing focus. They published a good article on Approach to SOA Testing Applications. This article does a great job on detailing issues associated with Functional and Performance Testing.

On functional testing, it points out that most testing tools are focused on unit testing and are incapable of building composite interdependent tests across technology platforms, languages and systems.

On the performance testing front, this article takes the position that:

"Once the appropriate performance scenarios have been defined, multiple test tools/techniques are required because of the presence of different platforms and technologies. During test execution, monitoring application performance and collating data would be a challenge since there is no “one stop shop” tool which gives insight into the overall big picture."

Although obtaining a composite functional & performance picture may require source code access to figure out root bottlenecks, in modern, web services-based SOAs, the atomic web service "producer" API is what is being tested for performance characteristics. The web service operation internals are a black box operation that may internally call other web services. If all dependent contracts are advertised and available to a SOA Tester, then overall big picture performance characteristics are readily available from existing SOA Testing Tools.

The visibility does stop at the WSDL API level that is provided to the SOA Tester however. For more detailed view into performance and functional characteristics, white box testing is required. This may not be feasible with the proliferation of SaaS. The next closest view into functional and performance characteristics of a web service may be obtained through Grey Box testing. See SOA Testing using Black, White, & Gray Box Techniques for details.

With the proliferation of web services-based SOA within Enterprises and SMBs, AppLabs is focused on the right space and is positioned to capitalize on the increasing testing needs of complex SOA deployments.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Testing SOA Applications and Services

Mercury/HP published a good article on SOA Testing highlighting some facets of "non-GUI" testing. Mercury solution seems to address Functional and Performance testing for SOA deployments. These 2 aspects of web services-based SOA testing are part of the 4 pillars of SOA testing necessary for comprehensive SOA test coverage. Interoperability and Vulnerability testing form the other two necessary Pillars of SOA Testing.

One of the features that stands out is Mecury's "stub-simulation" capability that allows testers to simulate services to build test suites without requiring access to the target production system.

For complete article, see Testing SOA Applications and Services (registration required).

Monday, February 05, 2007

Watch your SOA Testing Blind Spots

This latest article by Crosscheck Networks' R&D team highlights various common SOA Blind Spots that SOA testers experience in real-life deployments.

The Blind Spots and remedies focus on the following areas:

  1. Performance
  2. Security
  3. SOAP Attachments
  4. WSDL
  5. Interoperability
For these 5 areas of SOA Testing, the article describes how to identify common SOA blind spots and techniques for avoiding them.

The full article (PDF), can be downloaded here: Watch your SOA Testing Blind Spots