RealTime IT News

SOA Vendors Link For Interoperability

Companies that tout distributed computing banded together today with a plan to make their software work together.

This is an important goal because disparate products can hinder business performance if they cannot interoperate.

JBoss, Infravio, AmberPoint and several other vendors have created SOA Link to promote the interoperability of their various service-oriented architecture (SOA) products, software that allows Web services to communicate with one another.

Participants will jointly develop integration at the data, control and user interface to allow products for SOA governance to interoperate.

Governance provides some authority over the messages, services and transactions that traverse the SOA. Without some type of management, Web services, and by extension SOAs, could be subject to multiple failure points and collapsing business transactions.

Software developed or adjusted under the aegis of SOA Link could include policy repositories and authoring systems, run-time enforcement systems, or business process utilities.

According to a statement, SOA Link members may publish services and associated policy to a system of record and be alerted to changes when they happen.

Other founders of SOA Link include: Composite Software, Forum Systems, Intalio, IONA, Layer 7 Technologies, LogicBlaze, NetIQ, ParaSoft, Reactivity, SOA Software, SymphonySoft, webMethods and WSO2.

Of note, the group does not include any of the heavyweights that set Web services standards, including IBM, Sun Microsystems, BEA Systems, Microsoft and Oracle.

Miko Matsumura, vice president of marketing for Infravio, said these large vendors are less concerned with actively supporting interoperability with the pure-play vendors these days.

"That said, many of us including Infravio have joint customers and strong interoperability with all of those vendors -- they just didn't choose to join this release at this time... Maybe later?"

ZapThink analyst Ronald Schmelzer, whose research firm covers distributed computing, said it's not particularly surprising that software powers are not there.

He said larger platform vendors will always push the fact that interoperability starts and ends with their platform primarily, and then secondarily to other products, while members of SOA Link know that other products, platforms, and infrastructure have to play in order for the group to prosper.

"This means that any SOA Link-implementing vendor acknowledges that they will interoperate with all other SOA Link vendors, including platform competitors," Schmelzer said.

"It would be harder for the platform vendors to get a win by making such a claim. However, if customers start demanding this sort of vendor-neutral interoperability, then yes, at some point, these bigger fish will have to join the party."

SOA Link comes a week after a huge roadblock for SOA and Web services was knocked down last week when WS-Policy was submitted to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) for formal approval as a standard.

IBM, Microsoft, BEA Systems and others introduced WS-Policy in 2002 as a means for Web services to express their requirements and policies to other Web services.

The advancement came after its developers filled a hole in the spec that made companies reluctant to write to it.