SOA Software’s Service Manager Wins Detailed Network Computing Lab Review

Industry Leader’s High-Performance, Scalable SOA Management Solution “Blew Away” Competition with Enterprise-class Features

SANTA MONICA, Calif.—June 19, 2006—SOA Software, the leading provider of comprehensive SOA and Web services management, security, mediation and run-time governance solutions, announced that its Service Manager product has been recognized as the industry’s best SOA management product by Network Computing Labs.

Service Manager came out ahead because:

  • It offers centralized policy management – critical for reducing the complexity and cost of deploying SOA
  • Its console scales to meet enterprise scale unlike competitive offerings
  • It includes standards-based client-side toolkits that make it easy for developers to write secure, loosely-coupled service consumers

Network Computing’s Green Bay, WI lab facility, run by network and application infrastructure expert Lori MacVitte performs real-world testing of products.  The independent lab compared leading network and application infrastructure products from SOA Software and Actional while AmberPoint and other vendors declined to participate.  Many product vendors choose not to participate in this type of review fearing that their products will not be able to withstand the rigorous testing they will be subjected to, knowing that recent customer tests have exposed shortcomings in their products. 

The in-depth analysis simulated real-world scenarios and tested the practicality and usability of both products.  The results demonstrated the advantages of SOA Software’s Service Manager and showcased its comprehensive features and enterprise-class capabilities surpassing Actional’s Looking Glass 6.0 product.

Confirming what customers that have tested Service Manager against competitive products already know, Service Manager took the top spot in the review with a combination of rich features and enterprise-class capabilities.  Particularly impressive to Network Computing was Service Manager’s centralized agent and policy management.

The review states - “After deploying only a handful of embedded agents we quickly decided we preferred SOA Software’s model—it required less hopping around from console to console. Large environments will likely find Actional’s model cumbersome. A completely centralized policy management/distributed enforcement model is absolutely critical in reducing the complexity involved in managing large installations.”

Further underscoring the enterprise-class nature of Service Manager is its ability to scale to support large environments.  Network Computing found Service Manager’s service relationship mapping too to be much more usable in a real-world environment than competitors’ tools.
According to the review - “Proving the adage ‘less is more,’ Actional’s ability to map both clients and servers at first appeared to be beneficial, but the display quickly grew cluttered and nearly unusable. With thousands of individual clients making requests, the Flash-based network map of service invocations was quickly rendered useless. What was at first a very cool feature turned into an annoyance after several hours of pushing traffic through the managed services.”
The review continues:
“SOA Software takes a different approach; its Service Manager displays only a hierarchical representation of a service, using a drill down navigation scheme to present parent-child relationships between services. We were able to explore the relationships between services in our Tomcat container as well as those running our IIS 6.0 and BEA WebLogic 8.1 container, the three platforms for which SOA Software provided embedded agents. While this made it more difficult to obtain a “big picture” overview of all managed services, it was definitely more usable than Actional’s presentation.”
As well as offering true enterprise-class scalability and performance, Service Manager offers much deeper security capabilities than other products in the space:

Network Computing says - “We configured both products to take advantage of NWC Inc.‘s Active Directory server, a fairly simple task with SOA Software, not so simple with Looking Glass, with each agent individually configured. Actional’s user management is an all-or-nothing model, while SOA Software gave us the ability to cascade authentication sources (“domains”) and choose which domain to use when logging into Service Manager.”

A feature unique to Service Manager is its client SDK that reduces development costs for consumers and ensures true loose-coupling of consumers and services, essential for organizations to realize the efficiency and agility benefits offers by SOA.

The review adds - “SOA Software also includes a client SDK that dynamically adjusts to policies. It’s like a local gateway for clients and made authentication, encryption and digital signature management a breeze. The client SDK is also integrated into Service Manager’s test console, a feature we enjoyed finding and that was not offered in Actional’s product. From any number of points within the management console we could test services and policies, even if they required complex policies.”

Network Computing’s reviews are the gold-standard of product testing.  As opposed to other reports that are based on vendor comments, Network Computing puts products through their paces in a real-world environment.  The Network Computing tests are similar the type of testing done in a typical customer proof-of-concept and through production deployment.

“This win is a good validation of the strength of our product,” said Alistair Farquharson, chief technology officer of SOA Software.  “It confirms what we already know from our consistent wins in head-to-head implementations at large companies.  Service Manager is the best product for large-enterprise SOA management and security.”


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