SOA Talk

December 2, 2010  5:00 PM

D&B builds data-as-a-service on Informatica Cloud

James Denman James Denman Profile: James Denman

Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) has been providing credible credit information since the 1930’s. Many businesses and financial institutions rely on information from D&B to make credit decisions, guide their marketing efforts, and supplement their supply chain management. These organizations may soon have the ability to access this information on-demand from the cloud. D&B recently announced D&B360, a data-as-a-service (DaaS) system built on the Informatica Cloud. Informatica provides the back-end integration platform. They are focused on data integration, synchronization, and data quality services on-demand.

The DaaS system is intended to allow enterprise software providers to embed D&B data right in their applications, and is designed to integrate with existing software that uses commercial or professional contact data, like CRM or BI software. In addition, the press release announcing D&B360 states that it “integrates relevant, dynamic information from social media and news sources for a complete picture of businesses.” Which makes me think the DaaS system will automatically cross reference credit information about a business with news stories on the business as well as the business’s Facebook information, and maybe even tweets from the CEO.

November 30, 2010  4:45 PM

On graph databases, semantic data handling and WS-I

Kathleen Kriz Profile: Kathleen Kriz

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.

November 23, 2010  4:54 PM

At AADI: Parasoft Concerto enforces SDLC policy

Jack Vaughan Jack Vaughan Profile: Jack Vaughan

 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.

November 19, 2010  4:27 PM

At AADI: SOA Software looks toward cloud governance

Kathleen Kriz Profile: Kathleen Kriz

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.

November 18, 2010  4:49 PM

The World Wide Web celebrates its 20th anniversary

James Denman James Denman Profile: James Denman

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

November 17, 2010  8:03 PM

ESB and more in cloud computing platform called “Stratos”

Jack Vaughan Jack Vaughan Profile: Jack Vaughan

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.

November 17, 2010  3:51 PM

Sopera bought by Talend

Kathleen Kriz Profile: Kathleen Kriz

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.

November 16, 2010  6:26 PM

At Gartner AADI 2010: Cloud computing trust chasm

Jack Vaughan Jack Vaughan Profile: Jack Vaughan

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:

-Data location,
-Regulatory compliance,
-Provider trust management,
-Policy restrictions,
-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.

November 10, 2010  6:16 PM

Server converts facts and rules into actions

Jack Vaughan Jack Vaughan Profile: Jack Vaughan

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.

November 10, 2010  6:10 PM

Systematic and SOA-Style Magic Quadrants – Software AG pursues integration

Jack Vaughan Jack Vaughan Profile: Jack Vaughan

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.

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