IBM has bought XML network equipment maker DataPower. IBM said the move was for the benefit of its SOA customers who wanted to improve performance and management of business processes.

The acquisition addresses the need to make previously siloed data and software applications interoperate better, according to IBM. DataPower offers products that improve security and the speed of processing transactions,which simplify SOA deployments by hiding the complexities of handling different message formats.

Purchasing DataPower complements IBM's WebSphere SOA software and services, IBM said. DataPower does this by addressing performance, security, and management issues associated with XML.

Analysts said IBM's purchase of DataPower shows that IBM understands SOA is not only about software.

"IBM is clearly showing that software alone won't solve the totality of SOA challenges," said Ron Schmelzer senior analyst at ZapThink.

"With IBM's entry into the network appliance space for SOA, we think this will turn up the heat on the other platform vendors such as BEA and Oracle to consider how they too will broaden their coverage of SOA beyond simply software and professional services," Schmelzer said.

"DataPower's product suite of integration, security, and performance appliances will fill various holes within IBM's broad SOA offering," said Jason Bloomberg, also a senior analyst at ZapThink.

DataPower products include the X150 Integration Device, which streamlines SOA infrastructure; the XA35 XML Accelerator for XML processing, and the XS40 XML Security Gateway, to provide message-level web services security.

Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.