SOA Software Inc. announced today that its SOA infrastructure products are now registry independent, a declaration signed onto by four major registry vendors: Flashline Inc., Infravio Inc., LogicLibrary Inc., and Systinet Corp. (now a division of Mercury Interactive Corp.).
Getting competing registry vendors to agree on the value of registry independence was not the software industry equivalent of achieving world peace, according to Ian Goldsmith, vice president of product marketing at SOA Software. Registry independence, which he characterizes as a step toward SOA maturity, is in the best interest of all four and does not require them to endorse each others products.
SOA Software products connect directly to UDDI registry products without the need for a separate proprietary service database, according to the announcement. This provides a direct connection for scalable synchronization in enterprise SOA projects, the company said.
Goldsmith compares the current status of UDDI v3 with the maturity Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) reached in the late 1990s when customers no longer had to worry about how they would integrate applications with it since most major vendors supported it. With today's announcement, organizations need not worry about how they will integrate SOA Software's management, security and run-time governance products with UDDI registries, he said.
One key benefit registry independence brings to organizations working on SOA projects is a savings in development time, Goldsmith said, which should make developers and corporate budget hawks happy.
"You don't want to spend immense amounts of time integrating with a registry," he said.
Another benefit of standard integration between management and registry products is enhanced governance capabilities, analysts and registry vendors say.
When SOA management products are integrated with registries "the whole is definitely greater than the sum of the parts," Anne Thomas Manes, vice president and research director at Burton Group, was quoted as saying in today's announcement. Explaining the benefit of this integration, she said, "Registries can use SOA management solutions to help manage the service provisioning process and SOA management solutions can use registries to maintain information about managed services and to learn about new services that need to be provisioned and managed."
SOA Software's contention that UDDI registries are "a fundamental building block" for SOA projects was supported in its announcement by Jake Sorofman, vice president of product marketing at Systinet, who is quoted as saying: "A standards-based registry is a fundamental requirement for SOA governance."
The centrality of the registry/repository was also supported by Jason Bloomberg, senior analyst, ZapThink LLC, in his white paper, "Making Sense of SOA Governance, Service Lifecycle Management, Registries & Repositories," published this month. He argued that it is hard to do SOA governance without a registry/repository at the heart of the system. In one of the more optimistic notes in the white paper, he said that key vendors are making progress in providing architects with the tools they need for governance.
Flashline CEO Charles Stack also welcomed the news, saying, "The quicker UDDI is recognized as a commodity, the better for us." He said that the real battleground for vendors in the space revolves around orchestrating services and establishing governance, not in getting UDDI to work.
Looking to the larger issues involved in governance, Miko Matsumura, Infravio's vice president of technology standards and chair of the OASIS SOA Adoption Blueprints Technical Committee said it is crucial to implement checks and balances to protect key metadata. He warns against any philosophy that allows a single department or user to change metadata that alters policies. A change that might be to the advantage of one department may not be in the best interest of the overall organization, he said.
"No single point of view should control changes to the metadata," he warns.
While joining the other vendors in supporting registry independence, Matsumura said he prefers calling the concept "registry neutrality." He said the SOA Software announcement does not mean its software works independently of a registry. "You still need one," he said.
Goldsmith said that indeed is what SOA Software tells customers. "You need to have a registry/repository," he said. "If you don't have one, get one."