SOASTA Founder Talks SOA and Services

    October 19, 2006

Ken Gardner is founder and Executive Chairman of SOASTA, a privately-held technology company focused on developing visual software tools for the testing, certification, and demonstration of SOA-based systems.

The company’s product line allows business users, business analysts, QA engineers, sales engineers, consultants, and developers to quickly and easily test and certify new web services, business processes and applications. Gardner is an industry veteran with more than 30 years in the enterprise software industry.

1. For business executives who may not be that attuned to technology, explain in plain English what SOA (Service Oriented Architecture) is and how it differs from traditional software development and testing approaches.

SOA stands for Service Oriented Architecture. Modern application architectures have evolved from mainframe and client/server architectures so that enterprise applications can be delivered over the Web. The architectural idea is that the software will be composed of a set of loosely coupled components (called services) that exchange messages across the Web to do work. While there are hotly debated variations in approach and terminology (SOA, REST, Composite Applications, Web 2.0, etc.) there is deep consensus that XML Messaging and Services are the basic building blocks of new Web applications. Visual Tools available from many vendors allow NEW business processes to be very quickly composed and modified combining Services over the Web.

This new architecture runs on shared computing resources (cluster or grid) giving large cost savings over the previous generation. The enterprise gets a flexible, scalable, ON DEMAND processing infrastructure that can be easily integrated with existing applications and customized for that enterprises’ needs. Every leading software application vendor is moving rapidly to deliver versions of their products to enable this approach.

2. Your web site describes SOASTA’s approach as “revolutionary.” What’s revolutionary about it?

Testing is a complex and very detailed activity requiring the tester to design test scenarios. Existing testing tools are script-based which means that you write code (JAVA, C#, Perl or a proprietary scripting language) in order to construct and execute the tests. So, the tester writes script code to test the application code. This a tedious, time consuming and expensive process.

SOASTA provides an easy to use product for testing web-based services and applications. The objective is to substantially reduce the effort and technical expertise necessary to create and execute complex parallel message scenarios necessary to test new Web applications. That is accomplished in SOASTA Concerto by providing a suite of visual tools designed to automate all of the tasks necessary to test Web applications.

SOASTA Concerto uses a NEW and REVOLUTIONARY visual approach borrowed from the world of digital media creation. It is very similar to products like Apple’s Final Cut Pro or iMovie. In a digital movie, video and sound clips are arranged in a drag-and-drop multi track mixing board in order to control the sequence and timing of the final video. Transition effects like fades and special effects are specified. Similarly, in SOASTA Concerto, the test designer visually creates messages, combines messages into message clips and arranges the clips in a drag-and-drop multi-track mixing board in order to control the sequence and timing of the test composition. Complex, parallel message streams are quickly and easily created without writing code.

Visual approaches to solving complex problems are much easier to show than to describe. Please visit in order to see a short video demonstrating the power of these visual tools.

3. What are the business benefits that customers can expect from SOASTA’s environment?

SOASTA Concerto is offered as a hosted service and on a monthly subscription basis for in-house use. The application is delivered via any Web browser using AJAX technology over the Web. Customer benefits include dramatic productivity gains in building tests and certifying Web applications (no coding or scripting required), automation of the testing of web applications, higher quality web applications which will reduce end user support costs, an affordable testing environment, and the ability for dispersed testing teams to collaborate over the Web in building and executing complex tests.

4. Who will use SOASTA and how will they find out about it?

SOASTA Concerto will be used by any developer, tester, sales engineer, consultant or business analyst involved in the implementation of Web applications. SOASTA will go to market using a variety of new communications vehicles such as video podcasting, blogging and free trial offers.

5. Where are you now and where do you expect to be a year from now?

The Alpha version of SOASTA Concerto is currently in use at selected companies. SOASTA is continuing to build out the SOASTA Concerto environment and expects a Q1, 2007 launch of the hosted service.



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Jerry Bowles has more than 30 years of varied experience as a writer, editor, marketing consultant, corporate communications director and blogger. For the past 20 years, he has produced and written special supplements on new technologies for a number of magazines, including Forbes, Fortune and Newsweek.