Sun Looks to Forge ‘SOA Path’


NEW YORK — Sun Microsystems became the latest major vendor to introduce
service-oriented architecture (SOA) services, unveiling a new practice
called SOA Path.


The idea is to allow customers to use Sun’s Java software and services to
support an enterprise’s SOA from its planning stage to its implementation.
According to Joe Keller, Sun vice president, the practice falls under the aegis of Sun’s enterprise Web services
practice, which was created last year.


SOA services are nothing new to the IT world. Sun rivals IBM
and BEA Systems trotted out SOA services earlier this year among a whirlwind of
buzz.


But Keller insisted that bringing new services to the public in 2005 doesn’t
mean Sun is behind its competitors. For one, SOAs aren’t a product. For
another, the models are so nascent that it is impossible to nail down any
leader in the space.


Moreover, Keller said Sun’s approach is different than those models of IBM.
He said that while Big Blue chooses to have its global services groups do
the SOA implementation, Sun prefers to educate and teach users on the best
way to set up Java-based Web services and SOAs.


“We make it easy enough so that the customers can do the SOA themselves,”
Keller said Tuesday at the SOA Executive Forum event in New York. “We don’t expect to do all of the work for you.”


Sun will, for a fee based on the size of the company or project, teach users
how to set up and run infrastructure software in accordance with its SOA
service models. Sun is best suited to instructing users on how to use its
platforms, but Keller said it has no problem showing users that they can
tailor their WebSphere or WebLogic middleware for an SOA.


Keller said Sun believes its own middleware is the best suited for
enterprises’ Java needs. Sun’s Java System Application Platform Suite, which
addresses the use of Web services components to make disparate enterprise
systems work together, resides in the Java Enterprise System (Java ES)
platform.


So do the Sun Java Web Infrastructure Suite, a quick-start approach to Web
services, and the Sun Java Identity Management Suite, which manages user
identities.


Keller said SOA Path offers four services. The SOA Jumpstart Workshop helps
customers gauge services requirements, candidate architecture and
implementation. Technical and business participants will be able to
coordinate the design and deployment of business services.


SOA Opportunity Assessment offers users an analysis of business processes
and provides instruction on how to set up the computing architecture under
and SOA framework. The service evaluates design time and deployment for
composite application and services that are currently under way.


The SOA Proof of Concept pinpoints business services for their reuse
potential. Finally, the SOA Center of Excellence instructs users on how to
reuse current processes and code in accordance with standards and compliance
regulations.


Keller said the VPS ASA (Norwegian Central Securities Depository) recently
took a three-week SOA Opportunity Assessment. It helped to identify existing
strengths and weaknesses for implementing an SOA. More customers are in the
pipeline.

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