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Kenamea goes the Web services route

The software start-up adds Web services support to its integration server software, joining the bevy of companies carving out the new "enterprise service bus" niche.

Integration software start-up Kenamea on Tuesday released an update to its software that adds support for Web services standards and improves administration.

The Kenamea Platform is server software that transforms business documents saved in proprietary form into a format that can be recognized by different software applications. The company said its server software is designed to simplify the use of Web services for data integration across networks.

The software ensures that messages are delivered, and it authenticates the identity of people across different security firewalls. For instance, a company can use Kenamea's software to link trading partners in a supply chain network to its internal business systems via the Internet. Such business-to-business uses of Web services are growing in popularity, according to analysts.

San Francisco-based Kenamea, which has 30 customers, is targeting businesses that need secure, reliable and fast application-to-application communications, company representatives said. One of its customers is the New York Mercantile Exchange, which is using Kenamea software to handle communications for a high-volume trading system used by internal clients and outside business partners.

Kenamea represents one of a number of companies developing integration software around Web services, a set of standards and programming models for exchanging information between different applications. Market researcher Gartner calls this new category "enterprise service buses" (ESB) and predicts that a majority of enterprises will have an ESB running by 2005.

Companies developing Web services integration software offer a simpler, cheaper alternative to existing integration software from IBM and other software makers. Web services integration specialists say their software can reliably exchange data between systems for a lower cost and without using proprietary technology that will lock a customer to a particular provider.

Other ESB companies identified by Gartner include Sonic Software, SpiritSoft, and Software AG, as well as smaller companies looking to get a foothold in the market. Iona and IBM are also preparing ESBs for release later this year, according to representatives from both companies. CapeClear is another start-up building its business around Web services integration.

On top of providing built-in Web services support, version 2.1 of the Kenamea Platform introduces the ability to monitor usage and track message traffic better. Kenamea can also transport data between other application formats, including Java and Microsoft .Net applications.

The Kenamea software costs between $25,000 and $50,000 per server processor, with typical installations costing between $150,000 and $250,000, company representatives said.