SOA Talk

February 1, 2011  7:19 PM

Searching for Private Orion – a browser-based open tool integration platform

Jack Vaughan Jack Vaughan Profile: Jack Vaughan

Orion is not a set of Java plug-ins which run in the existing Eclipse Java IDE, according to Eclipse head  Mike Milinkovich. It is instead a browser-based open tool integration platform which is “entirely focused on developing for the web, in the web.” Tools can be written in JavaScript and run in the browser. On the server side, Orion is an OSGi-based Java app that runs in a Jetty container. Milinkovich posits this as a major new code undertaking for Eclipse, and it bears watching. In the last ten years, the Eclipse army has done nothing less than revolutionize the way tools are applied to services – and there is more in store.

February 1, 2011  7:16 PM

Ruby on Rails on NetBeans riding the rails?

Jack Vaughan Jack Vaughan Profile: Jack Vaughan

Since It took over Sun Microsystems, Oracle Corp. has made some positive moves to ensure multi-language support for the Java Virtual Machine going forward – but a recent move raises issues. The open source community site, a provider of a key IDE, has announced it will no longer support the Ruby on Rails Web application framework. Of course, the issue may really be that there was limited traction for the NetBeans IDE’s Ruby support in the first place, and resources could not be further spared on a somewhat evangelical effort.

January 26, 2011  12:34 PM

Platform supports out-of-the-box environments for Hadoop, Jboss and others on cloud

Jack Vaughan Jack Vaughan Profile: Jack Vaughan

Clustering house Platform Computing has forwarded its efforts in cloud computing with Platform ISF 2.1, a new release of its software for building and managing enterprise private clouds.  It is said to support the application lifecycle from development to operations. Continued »

January 21, 2011  4:02 AM

XML gateways at a crossroads?

Jack Vaughan Jack Vaughan Profile: Jack Vaughan

Are changes coming to specialized XML gateways/accelerators? It appears so. Is everyone onboard with the idea? No. Some viewers say the gateway will place its best traits – security and data transformation – in jeopardy, if it dilutes its ”core competencies” and begins to take on the traits  of a general purpose system.

But IBM has added data caching to its Data Power engine. Intel expanded features too. In the latter case, cloud computing is a big driver. And workflow orchestration is the added feature.

That’s what Todd Cramer, director of product marketing for Intel’s SOA products group told us in conversation last year. Cramer said:

“We see an evolution for XML gateways. They first processed XML at wire speed, then [they began] to validate for security. We think in the new environment of the cloud, what you need is an added workflow on top of it. We added a workflow engine. Cloud is the real thing that is changing the game.  Now, a service may be scaled off site to public or private cloud.” 

It is not BPEL-style workflow orchestration that Cramer is discussing – rather, it is machine-to-machine orchestration. It is fair to say the XML accelerator has recently become a more interesting piece of SOA infrastructure. The gateway itself stands at a crossroads.

January 12, 2011  8:01 PM

The “Other Kind” of Enterprise Architecture Framework

James Denman James Denman Profile: James Denman

By Alan R. Earls

Kevin L. Smith, the creator of PEAF, the “Pragmatic” Enterprise Architecture Framework, has a challenge: explaining a relatively unfamiliar concept, namely that there are actually two types of enterprise architectures to which frameworks can apply.

First, of course, there are enterprise architectures that focus primarily on IT issues. “Probably 90 percent of the discussions involving EA focus on IT-oriented EAs. But the fact is that IT organizations find most of their problems stem from disconnects and discontents with the business. IT organizations would be smart to help the business engage in true enterprise architecture, which is really all about strategic planning,” he says.

That’s where the other kind of enterprise architecture frameworks (PEAF is one of them) come in. This second type of EA focuses on the businesses processes across the enterprise. By contrast, IT-oriented EAs have a focus that is more granular and more relevant in the project management arena.

According to Smith, IT departments often “feel the pain” of not having an enterprise architecture and of taking the blame for all the resulting problems. Now, as more and more organizations become familiar with the ideas of an enterprise architecture, more and more IT departments are realizing that they can’t make further improvements without one. This is why some IT departments are pushing an EA perspective up to the business leaders, he says.

PEAF is based on Smith’s 30 years in the IT industry, first as a software developer, then as a systems analyst, architect and consultant. In that last role, in particular, Smith said he had occasion to witness many organizations attempting to implement IT-based EA – and every one of them failing. “PEAF was not born out of success but out of an understanding of why people failed when they tried to do an enterprise architecture,” says Smith.

Smith realized his observations could be the germ of something new so, in late 2008, he began to try to put his observations into a common format and that, in turn, grew into an enterprise architecture framework.

In the case of PEAF, Smith says the framework approach addresses all the different parts of an enterprise and its many dimensions, even including its culture. “The relationship between the business and IT is considered but it is not limited to that.” In fact, notes Smith, PEAF all but requires the employment of a second framework that is highly focused on IT. Thus, PEAF and most other EAs – such as TOGAF – are in fact complimentary.

“TOGAF will tell you what to do and how to document what you do. But it doesn’t help with the relationship between IT and business, which is more about culture and communications than it is about IT,” he contends. Of course, information technology is important for the business “but to get the whole enterprise working together is a much different challenge.”

January 11, 2011  3:42 PM

News on architecture and integration from 2010

James Denman James Denman Profile: James Denman

The SOA Talk blog consistently covers new and interesting developments in the world SOA and enterprise architecture. We gleaned the cream of the crop from all of 2010 for this special on architecture, infrastructure, and application integration.

In February, the push on Wall Street was for systems that turbo-charge aggregation and pricing of financial transactions, order routing, algorithmic trading and market data management. These areas had looked like losing bets in late 2008, when banks and investment houses merged under tremendous Continued »

January 3, 2011  10:35 PM

Android, multilanguage support, the JVM and the future

Jack Vaughan Jack Vaughan Profile: Jack Vaughan

As we were looking at the switch from 2010 to 2011, we had the good fortune to touch bases with Ted Neward, Java/.NET author, blogger and consultant. Ted was a regular blogger on our 2007 TSS Interoperability blog, and recently penned a piece for on Android development issues.

We asked him about possible Java Virtual Machine (JVM) futures with Oracle now at the Java helm. Oracle’s has sued Google over that company’s reworking of the JVM, and this has put Google’s Android effort in an edgy position. Oracle has said it will continue to promote the idea of multiple languages on the JVM, but will this actually be the case? Continued »

December 29, 2010  11:46 PM

Thoughts on cloud API standards from Cloud Camp Boston 2010

James Denman James Denman Profile: James Denman

The current state of cloud and API standards is almost an exact match for early SOA and Web services standards, and we expect the standards movement will follow a very similar trend. Hopefully, the cloud standards groups will stand a better chance by learning from the mistakes and successes of the Web services standards.

The discussion of cloud standards at Cloud Camp Boston started by asking the question “What do we want to standardize?” As we looked at standards we found that there are three attributes of apparent concern. These include “API lock-in” (a similar concept to vendor lock-in), migration issues, and the richness or functionality of an API.

One interesting problem with setting standards (For APIs and services both) is the granularity of the work you’re standardizing. Some APIs have a very limited scope and effect only a single application with a single purpose. Others address a broad range of applications with any number of different purposes.

Continued »

December 20, 2010  4:50 PM

From point-to-point to any-to-any to hub-and-spoke and back

Jack Vaughan Jack Vaughan Profile: Jack Vaughan

There was a time when EAI was the anti-thesis of SOA, but Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) is making a bit of a comeback within the SOA firmament. The fact is that it never really went away.

Back in the day people discovered EAI handled pesky real-world problems. You had a (fill-in-the-blank) workstation or what have you in the corner and you needed to connect it to (fill-in-the-blank) process or what have you in the back room … and quickly. A programmer would write to the two APIs and then labor the rest of his or her career maintaining the point-to-point solution. Continued »

December 16, 2010  6:15 PM

Financial firm finds highly scaled testing for proliferating SOA services

Jack Vaughan Jack Vaughan Profile: Jack Vaughan

The growth of Web-connected systems tapping into back-ends has led to a proliferation of services. The proliferation can lead to increased systems’ loads. That expansion has led development shops to place more emphasis than ever on test and performance tools.

Such an apparent case of ”if you build it, they will come” is described by Sergey Sadovnichiy, manager for enterprise solutions at a large Canadian financial concern.

“What was happening was that services, when they were originally built, were few in number and typically had one consumer. Now the number of consumers has gone up dramatically, as well as the number of Web services themselves, and the complexity of the services has risen,” said Sadovnichiy. These are usually large applications, linking enterprise back-ends to the Web.

To deal with the increased volume and complexity, Sadovnichiy and his team have turned to SOAPSonar tools from Crosscheck Networks Inc.

“We do regression tests of each service from the point of view of each consumer type. We now have automated scripts for major consumers,” he said, adding that the scripts can quickly adapt to each use case.

“A Web service may have, for example, 350 elements. But every user will not use all the elements. In each case we can use a different set of scripts.”

Sadovnichiy said SOAPSonar is used for endurance testing and performance testing, along with regression testing. He also sees 100% test coverage, versus earlier scenarios that were risk-based test schemes covering not more than 20% of code.

Point-to-point inflection
Crosscheck CEO Mamoon Yunus said the industry has reached an inflection point in terms of services. “Services are getting like Web sites in terms of traffics. There are more trading partners talking to more systems,” he said.

Meanwhile, more able and interactive front-ends are creating more traffic. These RESTful elements do not directly employ XML or SOAP. Crosscheck tools measure JSON and JQuery REST element performance along with traditional SOAP and XML performance.

“People are using more widgets – AJAX widgets, JQuery widgets. From the browser now you hit these services directly. It is not application-to-application anymore as XML, SOAP and Web services were at first. They were more a classic “machine-to-machine” thing. Now, it is “portal-to-apps. The services now are portal driven.”

Yunus said Crosscheck has just released SOAPSonar 6.0. It allows emulation of a virtually unlimited number of concurrent users, and supports demographically disparate loading agents for cloud computing needs.

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