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HP kick starts Web services plan

The company plans to submit a specification to OASIS in an effort to jump-start the development of an important Web services standard.

Hewlett-Packard said Monday that it plans to submit a specification to OASIS in an effort to jump-start the development of an important Web services standard.

The company said it will give its Web Services Management Framework to OASIS, or the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards, for consideration as the basis for a future standard. HP authored the framework, or specification, with additions from other software companies, including BEA Systems, Oracle, Sun Microsystems and Tibco Software.

The HP specification describes how network events, such as an application failure, can be communicated to a central management console. HP and its partners wrote the framework specifically for Web services applications. Web services is an umbrella term for a set of XML-based standards that allows disparate systems to share information easily.

Analysts say that effectively managing Web services applications is an important step to broadening the adoption of Web services standards, because companies need an effective means of tracking a network's performance.

Well-established providers of systems management software such as HP and Computer Associates International, as well as several smaller companies, are developing products to address Web services management. The OASIS Web Services Distributed Management (WSDM) technical committee is seeking to find an agreed-upon management mechanism for Web services so that products from different providers will interoperate.

HP executives said the company decided to submit its designs for managing Web services in order to accelerate the progress of the OASIS technical committee. An initial standard is slated for completion by January 2004.

"There hasn't been a lot of progress to date, and we're hopeful this will kick-start the discussions," said Joe McGonnel, director of HP's Web services management.

HP has already built a product based on the Web Services Management Framework that works with HP's OpenView management software. But McGonnel said he expects there will be changes to the specification as other companies propose changes during the standardization process.

Actional Software, a start-up that is dedicated to Web services management and involved in the OASIS standardization process, was one of several companies to applaud the HP-led submission. James Phillips, senior vice president of products and marketing at Actional, said he expects other management companies will also submit proposals.

"This effort is collaborative and is built to consider input from a wide variety of participants--each coming at the problem from their own point of view and with their own biases. This is a healthy and proven process," Phillips said.

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