By Jack Vaughan
Let’s face it, sometimes what’s new is old, and – by the same token – what’s old is new. Some recent stories belie that fact.
Let’s start with James Denman’s article on graph databases. Although it has precursors, the graph data base is a relatively new type of store. It is a niche part of the “NoSQL” movement that has been driven by the success of massively scalable Google, Amazon and Facebook applications. My first reaction to NoSQL was negative, as I’d had a chance way back to cover the early object-oriented databases. These were often touted as “RDB killers.” But they never managed to unseat SQL. It took a while, delving into the NoSQL story to find that, yes, enough has changed to make the SQL alternative worth a look see by architects. Keep in mind, though, that “NoSQL” does not mean “NoSQL” – it means “Not Only SQL.”
XML arose at a time when organizations were only beginning to try to deal with unstructured data. Who knew that interest in ‘random’ text and snippets of data would come to hold sway over interest in the conventional columns and tables that defined data in those days? Unstructured, semantically rich data is now the most interesting to new age data miners, and, as you know, they ‘don’t need no XML’ to parse their way through it. DoD intelligence cullers and the like have been at this quite awhile, as writer Colleen Frye’s recent piece on SOA and semantics discusses. Need for such capabilities have spread far beyond national security. Stay tuned for more on this topic.
It may be a footnote – like the passing of a forgotten Hollywood film star of yore – but it is worth noting. The Web Services – Interoperability group shut down this month and handed future work over to the W3C. In its day, WS-I pushed Web services forward with the promise that big vendors would work together to make sure that their tightly coupled solutions had a genuine way of talking to outsiders via XML in a loosely coupled way. They only succeeded up to a point, and opened the door for SOA. Like only a few Hollywood stars in decline, they knew it was time to move on.
Yes, sometimes what’s new is old, and vice versa. But it is not recommended to take a jaundiced attitude here. One thing does not last always, especially in the technology sector.
A new version of Parasoft’s Concerto released at Gartner AADI Summit 2010 includes a policy layer. This does not cover SOA policy but instead relates to SDLC policy. Parasoft offers a Policy Center that can enforce peer code reviews, implement pattern-based static analysis and support flow-based static analysis. Associated tasks can be linked to measurements adhering to standards such as PCI-DSS or HIPAA, or to custom in-house rules. “With Concerto, we have integrated testing into the development process,” said Wayne Ariola, VP of Strategy, Parasoft. “It is no longer ad hoc usage.” Such software tools help development teams looking to marry agile processes to SOA, WOA and other application types. ” Making agile methods work in a sustainable fashion requires getting everyone on the same page working from the same playbook, said Thomas Murphy research director, Gartner, in a prepared statement. This requires building common vocabularies and tools that enable collaboration and a quality-oriented development process, he continued.
By Jack Vaughan
Another sign that SOA governance tools will play a role in cloud computing comes by way of an announcement that SOA Software has developed a suite of governance tools that build and run applications for the IBM WebSphere Business Services Fabric. WebSphere fabric products, the company told us in an interview at Gartner’s Application Architecture Integration & Development Summit 2010 in Los Angeles, Calif., can run as part of heterogeneous environments sharing services with SOA platforms from companies such as Microsoft, Oracle, RedHat and SAP. “We believe SOA is a prerequisite for cloud,” said Alistair Farquharson, CTO, SOA Software. If you use SaaS, he said, you will be exposing a set of services. Meanwhile, he continued, if you go to PaaS, you have to decompose your applications into components that are service enabled. “The data stays behind, but the application goes to the cloud,” said Farquharson.
Some differ on when it was born, but by some measures the World Wide Web turned 20 last weekend. Tim Berners-Lee introduced his proposal for a “WorldWideWeb” to CERN on November 12, 1990. According to an article by Ben Zimmer in this weekend’s New York Times Magazine on the origin of the word “Web,” the phrase World Wide Web was sort of a placeholder in the marketing strategy for Tim Burners-Lee and his colleague Robert Cailliau, who knew their hypertext link-based information management system was revolutionary, even though Berners-Lee’s previous proposal “had met with minimal internal interest.” The duo had apparently tried other names for the project, but had not found anything suitable so when the deadline came around they went with Berners-Lee’s working title. They figured they could come up with something better if and when the proposal was accepted. But they never did find anything that could beat the easy alliteration of World Wide Web.
But what’s in a name? If it wasn’t called the World Wide Web it would have gone by another title. Perhaps we would be working with “Internet Services” or “Graph Services” instead of “Web Services.” The principles behind Web services would still be the same, though. The real worth of the WorldWideWeb proposal was not in the name, but in the new concepts it set into motion. And Tim Berners-Lee has been guiding those concepts, promoting openness and interoperability via the internet for the past 20 years. So if you’re reading this Mr. Berners-Lee, thanks and keep up the good work from all of us at SearchSOA.com.
At Gartner’s AADI Summit 2010 in Los Angeles, WSO2 today discussed its recently launched “cloud middleware platform,” WSO2 Stratos 1.0, designed for implementing an enterprise SOA. The software is built on WSO2’s Carbon development platform, and it includes a host of open source middleware implementations supported by OSGi. For the purpose of cloud computing, the middleware elements are fielded as ‘services.’ Included are WSO2 Data Services as a Service, WSO2 Business Processes as a Service, WSO2 Business Rules as a Service, WSO2 Application Server as a Service, WSO2 Enterprise Service Bus as a Service and more. “You get a portal that creates tenants that comprise the middleware products as services,” said Jonathan Marsh, VP Marketing, WSO2. The ESB-in-the-cloud notion seems to gain more currency as time goes by. ESBs running on the cloud were rarely discussed when 2010 began. At this point, ESBs and cloud computing are frequently part of the same discussion.
Open source data management company Talend has acquired Sopera, a maker of open source SOA and middleware platforms. With this acquisition, Sopera is a wholly owned subsidiary of Talend, and is set to become its application integration division. The expanded offerings in application integration will put the company in competition with players such as TIBCO, Software AG and Progress Software. Talend has financial backing from investors that include Balderton Capital, which is led by a team including Bernard Liautaud, founder and ex-CEO of Business Objects. In a statement Liautaud indicated he was pleased to see Talend expand from the open source data management market into the broader middleware space.
Cloud computing was a much-discussed topic this week at the Garner Application Architecture, Development & Integration Summit 2010 in Los Angeles, Calif. Gartner Managing VP Gene Phifer and others looked at possible cloud computing scenarios in a brief keynote that set the agenda for the week’s cloud content. Quite a few of the related issues have to do with that old intractable human trait – trust.
Among the takeaways:
*One should go into the cloud with an exit strategy. This is one of the better ways of ensuring the cloud project does not lead to vendor lock in.
*Expect corporate pushback. True cloud computing is shared in nature. That will give people fits around security.
*Among the really tough cloud computing problems – depending on your type of business – with which you can expect to have to grapple are:
-Provider trust management,
-Remediation of service failures, and
-Portability between cloud services.
Gartner analysts insisted that, as people go through the process of delivering actual cloud services, they will encounter a sort of cloud trust chasm. New trust models will have to be developed. Also discussed at the conference was the Web gateway (or “SOA governance boxes) fashioned for cloud scenarios and the third-party cloud vulnerability scanning tool –each in its way a means to cross the so-called cloud trust chasm.
Writer Coleen Frye recently spoke with Grindwork Corp.’s Brian Jones. When he co-founded Grindwork, the thought was “let’s make a declarative language that works with rules and facts and eliminates everything else.” The result was the Grindwork Thinking Server (GTS), which converts facts and rules into actions. “The Thinking Server is not a rules engine per se; it’s a declarative server. We have rules, not event handlers; we let state generate behavior.” According to Grindwork, systems using GTS require substantially less hand-coding for the server operations.
While some others run from the SOA tag, services pioneer Software AG continues to push hard on the SOA front – But it is also a primer player in the general middleware field as well.
These dual sides of integration – one in which SOA is prominent, the other in which SOA may be incidental or less-than-incidental – each are represented by their own Gartner Magic Quadrants. These Gartner quadrants are now being formed around project types, as well as product types.
The Gartner Magic Quadrant Gartner rates technology vendors on completeness of vision and ability to execute, and is much watched in software circles. It uses quadrants to graphically represent leaders in a specific niche and time frame.
Gartner has a Magic Quadrant for Application Infrastructure for Systematic SOA-Style Application Projects and a Magic Quadrant for Application Infrastructure for Systematic Application Integration Projects. The difference is a difference in focus. SOA is a fundamentally different view.
“What SOA has done is it has changed the focus. Systems have to work together, but how they are tied together has more to do with how the business uses them together as a business capability,” said Jignesh Shah, VP of Business Infrastructure Products and Solutions, Software AG. When you start creating true software services, you can tie them together in more efficient ways, Shah said.
He noted that Software AG appears as a leader in both the Magic Quadrant for Application Infrastructure for Systematic SOA-Style Application Projects and a Magic Quadrant for Application Infrastructure for Systematic Application Integration Projects.
The difference in focus is often manifested in an interest in governance. Shah insisted SOA governance remains the big SOA differentiator.
“If you look at [the two styles of integration Gartner describes] from a technical point of view, the big difference is governance,” said Shah. “Because you are trying to create capabilities that span multiple applications and teams, and which are repeatable, governance becomes important.” Expect continued aggressive investment in SOA capabilities at Software AG, as well as additional attention to Master Data Management (MDM) for SOA and operational BI.
Key areas for application development and projects that use service-oriented architecture (SOA) include application modernization, cloud computing and enterprise data mashups. Today we take a second look at some recent SearchSOA.com content that explores these issues.
A little while ago, we had the great pleasure of hosting a chapter excerpt from modernization mavens William M. Ulrich and Philip H. Newcomb. If you want a quick view on modernization pitfalls and strategies, their book on systems transformation is an excellent place to start. Meanwhile, some other of our recent coverage on this topic has been aggregated in our special report on mainframe application modernization.
Cloud computing on one level is a variation on grid computing, a technology this site began to cover about 10 years ago. APIs are where the pedal meets the metal in the cloud, and we looked at these in a Cloud API mini-roundup a while back. Meanwhile, the data requirements of today’s cloud projects appear to be quite novel, and they are the area of interest for quite a few services architects these days. Last week, SearchSOA.com’s James Denman uncovered some useful resources on the graph database, one of the extra tools in the NoSQL movement which is poised as an alternative to the traditional relational database in cloud and other apps.
It wasn’t too long ago that EAI and SOA pioneer David Linthicum discussed Web data services and distributed computing with us. Sometimes the rush to cloud belies the role services play. Linthicum’s discussion is an antidote to that. Also, after a bit of hiatus, expert Michael Ogrinz has checked in with a very interesting look at data mashups that employ government data services. It is another take on the emerging realm of data services, discussing tools and techniques and using a ready example.