Article

SOA vendors banding together to verify interoperability

Rich Seeley

While everyone waits for service-oriented architecture standards to reach maturity, a group of SOA vendors led by Infravio Inc., today announced the formation of an organization where members can verify that their governance products interoperate.

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It is really more like a Good Housekeeping seal of approval.
Miko Matsumura
Vice President of Technology StandardsInfravio

The new group, SOALink, won't develop standards or compete with existing standards bodies in any way, organizers say. It's more modest goal is to assure customers that products from its member play well together in SOA implementations.

Within SOALink, vendors of policy repositories, authoring systems, runtime enforcement systems, runtime monitoring and business process systems will verify that their products are interoperable with those of the other member vendors. The members of the new group include IONA Technologies Inc., NetIQ Corp., ParaSoft Corp., SymphonySoft Ltd., JBoss Inc., Layer 7 Technologies Inc., LogicBlaze Inc., Reactivity Inc., SOA Software Inc., webMethods Inc., AmberPoint Inc., Forum Systems Inc., Composite Software Inc. and Intalio Inc.

SOALink is more "humble" than a standards body, said Miko Matsumura, vice president of technology standards at Infravio.

"It is really more like a Good Housekeeping seal of approval," he said. "It's more like a pledge of a set of vendors that are essentially promoting interoperable solutions using available standards. The key is there's a strong intention for every vendor that is in this group to use available standards to interoperate."

Anne MacFarland, director, data strategies and information solutions, for The Clipper Group, Inc., agreed that SOALink will be complementary to work being done on WS-* and other bodies working on SOA standards.

She called the SOALink approach "lightweight and non-intrusive" because verifying that a link works does not require competing vendors in the SOA space to put their intellectual property at risk. For this reason, she predicted more vendors will be willing to join this effort.

"Saying links work doesn't reveal any trade secrets," she said "So this approach can work for small vendors, large vendors and customers, too."

Infravio releases X-Registry Platform 6

On Tuesday Infravio also will announce the release today of X-Registry Platform 6, the latest version of its SOA governance platform, which fully complies with SOALink, Matsumura said.

The new platform features a rules engine based on Drools, the Java open source rules engine employing computer science pioneer Charles L. Forgy's Rete algorithm. Drools was acquired by JBoss, the company that is now being acquired by Red Hat Inc. Matsumura said the rules engine, which he described as being "deeply integrated" into X-Registry, helps automate the authoring and enforcing of policies for SOA governance.

For more information

Learn more about the entrance of WS-Policy into the W3C

Read what Citigroup enterprise architect Skip Snow has to say about SOA governance

He said the rules engine is integrated with the registry/repository "and whenever there is a create, read, update or delete event associated with the registry/repository, it basically automatically triggers the rules that are appropriate." This helps avoid governance problems where a policy change might conflict with the rules.

The rules engine also has automated conflict resolution capabilities. Matsumura used the example of a situation where a department has a very stringent encryption policy for data going outside the firewall, but the corporation has a more lenient policy. One way this can be resolved is to set an automatic rule requiring that whenever encryption policies are in conflict, always use the most stringent one.

Other features of the new X-Registry include:

  • Federation support designed to help manage complex SOA deployments involving multiple organizations.
  • Approval engine to manage parallel, serial and combination approvals so the process does not become bogged down waiting for an approver to act.
  • Audits and reports to provide analysis of SOA usage and to support the requirements of regulatory organizations.

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