Confluent's CORE 3.0 Leads Pack

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Though their company is barely three years old, Confluent Software's founders have engineered messaging architectures for years, starting from Hewlett-Packard's eSpeak. But the latest version of the Sunnyvale, Calif., vendor's Web services management server, CORE 3.0, stands at the top of its product class, the CRN Test Center found.

On the server side, CORE 3.0 can automate Web services versioning and traffic. Its CORE Gateway manages all incoming and outgoing services traffic through a Policy Server using a pipeline architecture. Security policies direct the destination or pipeline of a service based on client requests. The policies also can control the timing between requests, based on which client initiated the service. For example, if a request was made via e-mail, it would take a different priority than if it was initiated through the Web.

Test Center engineers liked the flexibility of being able to alter services execution without adding any code to the services or reconfiguring them. Almost every feature can be adjusted through properties files, and all of the connections, deployment and versioning can be done automatically through text files. A ping server and a Web management console handle the actual monitoring. CORE 3.0 also uses agents that work similarly to the CORE Gateway and can be deployed in most popular Java application servers such as BEA WebLogic, IBM WebSphere and JBoss. CORE can be deployed to Microsoft .Net servers as well.

Installing CORE 3.0 for Windows, however, proved to be more difficult than stated in the documentation, which falls short in explaining what the process entails. For instance, instead of looking for Java platforms installed in the server, the installer leaves it up to users to point to a directory. So if there's a conflict with Java home directories, users must figure out which environment variables to adjust. CORE 3.0 uses InstallAnywhere to deploy its executables.

CORE 3.0 also offers a development plug-in that integrates with popular IDEs like BEA's Workshop, and it provides numerous configurable graphical reports.

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