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.

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