Microsoft Talks Up 'Real World' SOA
Published: October 11, 2006
by Alex Woodie
[URL=http://www.microsoft.com/]Microsoft[/URL] took advantage of its Microsoft SOA & Business Process Conference, held last week at its headquarters in Redmond, Washington, to discuss its views on how service oriented architecture (SOA) will fit into the real world. The company also reiterated its commitment to deliver adapters for [URL=http://www.ibm.com/]IBM[/URL] System z and System i servers in new editions of its BizTalk Server integration software due this year.
Microsoft says its "real world" approach to SOA, in which it utilizes SOA techniques and technologies to solve specific business problems, is superior to the "top-down" SOA strategy espoused by most vendors in the industry, which it says is marked by a large investment in enterprise-wide technology that often fails to achieve results in a relevant timeframe.
In a [URL=http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/features/2006/oct06/10-04SOA.mspx]PressPass Q&A[/URL] with John deVadoss, director of architecture strategy at Microsoft, deVadoss said the most important thing about SOAs is that they are a means to an end--not an end in and of themselves.
"There is . . . a preponderance of what I call the top-down, big-bang mega approach, which is often guilty of trying to 'do SOA' as opposed to delivering business value," deVadoss says. "The fundamental problem with the big-bang mega approaches to SOA is that they almost always end up being out-of-sync with the needs of the business."
The "real world SOA" rubber met the real road at Siemens, the German industrial giant, which for the past two years has been implementing and using Microsoft's integration technology (most likely with non-Windows host systems, although that detail was not disclosed). According to Microsoft, Siemens has increased productivity and sped the delivery of new business processes by 83 percent as a result of the use of Microsoft's SOA technology.
"Through our Microsoft SOA implementation, we will implement over 400 new business processes with a frequency of four to eight new processes every six to 12 weeks, which allows us the agility to solve business problems and seize opportunities as we identify them," says Thomas Buse, a section manager at Siemens.
Microsoft also confirmed plans to deliver new host adapters for IBM's System i midrange server and its System z mainframe by the end of December. These adapters will enable Windows users to more easily access business processes residing on these host systems, which still run many of the world's critical business applications, despite the negative perception they hold in the eyes of many Windows and IT professionals.
Support for these Big Iron boxes will be delivered via the BizTalk Adapter for Host Systems product, which will be shipped in BizTalk Server Enterprise and Standard editions. Other upcoming products that are key to Microsoft's SOA strategy are Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 and the .NET Framework 3.0, the vendor says.
Microsoft also laid claim to the popularity of SOA, which it says it first started talking about seven years ago, which is about the same time, coincidentally, that Vice President Al Gore's claim that he "took the initiative in creating the Internet" opened him up to all kinds of ridicule.
"We were an industry leader with respect to creating and evangelizing the Web services model, in creating and driving industry-wide adoption of the standards that make SOA real," deVadoss says in the Q&A. "I would argue that our broad platform and tool support has truly made Service Orientation mainstream."
Of course, Microsoft isn't taking all the credit (just most of it). Since it founded the [URL=http://www.ws-i.org/]Web Services Interoperability Organization[/URL] (WS-I) with IBM and others, the group has grown to include more than 150 members, the software giant points out.
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