For all the talk of new service-oriented architecture technology hitting the market, at some point business users will have to be brought into the services loop.
With that in mind, Infravio Inc. has rolled out its X-Registry Platform Version 5, focused on giving business users the power to configure and customize services. Using a new function it calls Service Delivery Contracts, Infravio separates IT services from business rules, which are externalized as meta data policies and reusable service interfaces.
"Policy is the thing that changes most rapidly," said Infravio vice president for technology Miko Matsumura. "Deals require agility, and your architecture has to support that. The theory is the things that change rapidly in business should be easy to change."
The X-Registry Platform continues its tradition of focusing on registry for design time discovery and repository to serve as a meta data and business rules system of record. The new governance capabilities of the Service Delivery Contracts are designed to better integrate those two arenas.
"Synchronizing the repository meta data with the registry turns out to be a whole lot burlier than anybody thought," Matsumura said. "That's why the governance piece is so important. It's how you stay on top of the end-to-end service lifecycle from design time to runtime to change time."
In particular, the repository element looks to be gaining in importance. With literally dozens of Web services standards either created or in the pipeline, meta data policies centered around security, transactions and quality of service could be as big an issue as the creation of reusable, loosely coupled services themselves.
"We believe the repository will be the clearinghouse for that sort of information," Matsumura said.
Jason Bloomberg, an analyst with Waltham, Mass.-based ZapThink LLC, said organizational issues such as how many repositories, how to federate them and who controls them cloud the role of repositories in an SOA. He noted that recently his firm asked end users for meta data submissions and received back only basic WSDL policies.
"Companies are still struggling with what should go into a contract," Bloomberg said. "There's no roadmap to follow. The sample policies, they just don't exist yet."
He added that, at the moment, that information lies within dedicated SOA management software, which governs configurations and policies within its interface.
Matsumura said he believes that ultimately the users will construct and own those policies rather than rely on out-of-the box software for that functionality, allowing them to differentiate their business from their competitors.
"You have these different constituencies in your business and there needs to be a coherent and logical way for these constituencies to work together," he said. "It's about coordinating your whole business."
Bloomberg agrees with the notion of empowering the business user and "moving it toward the central role in an SOA implementation."
The new X-Registry also features full implementation of the UDDI V3 specification, a JSR 94 rules engines and Java API for XML Registries support.