HP e-Speak pioneers launch web services start-up

22 October 2002 The former leaders of systems giant Hewlett-Packard’s pioneering e-Speak project, widely regarded as the precursor of web services, will today launch a new web services software company, called Confluent.

Sunnyvale, California-based Confluent, which has been operating since 2001 in “stealth mode” under the name of Corporate Oxygen, will focus on the integration and management of web services – an approach to building applications that uses a universal set of standards to enable the ‘discovery’, assembly and execution of application modules over the Internet and deliver them as a service.

Confluent CEO Rajiv Gupta said that he, and his fellow co-founders Sekhar Sarukkai and Shamik Sharma, had learned valuable lessons from their involvement with HP’s e-Speak project. HP was widely considered to be the original ‘thought leader’ in web services after the release of its first e-Speak web services product in 1998.

“E-Speak was so focused on technology that it was quite a marvel in architecture. But we [HP] did not pay any attention to usability and solving business problems. It was too complex,” Gupta told InfoWorld magazine.

In July 2002, HP said it was pulling out of web services by discontinuing its Netaction Application Server (formerly Bluestone), Netaction Web Services Platform and HP Web Services Registry product lines. Instead, it threw its weight behind application server technology from BEA Systems.

Gupta said Confluent’s focus is not on the development of web services software, but on monitoring, managing and linking together this software across enterprises.

Confluent’s core software platform aims to guarantee the performance level of web services, based on parameters including security management, auditing, problem diagnosis and change management.

The company’s core platform consists of three components: Core Integrator, which is an integration server that acts as an intelligent router for handling specified web services user policies; Core Manager, an analytics console to help users measure service level agreements; and Core Analyser that, Confluent claims, provides real-time monitoring of business processes.

Privately held Confluent is backed by venture capital groups Apax Partners and UV Partners and is already shipping products.

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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