Open SOA Group to Submit Specs to OASIS

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2007-03-21

Open SOA Group to Submit Specs to OASIS

A group of 18 vendors in the service-oriented architecture space has announced that some of the key Service Component Architecture and Service Data Objects specifications have completed incubation and will be formally submitted to OASIS to become standards.

The SCA specifications are aimed at simplifying the creation and composition of services, critical to building applications using services. And the SDO specifications are designed to enable uniform access to data residing in multiple locations. The group, known as the Open SOA Collaboration, has decided to turn the Java-based SDO work over to the JCP (Java Community Process) and turn the non-Java SDO work over to OASIS.

"We applaud the Open SOA Collaboration for reaching this milestone and for choosing to take the next step and advance this important work through an open standards process," said Patrick Gannon, president and CEO of OASIS, in Billerica, Mass.

The SCA and SDO specifications can help organizations to more easily create new IT assets and transform existing ones, enabling reusable services to be rapidly assembled. The specifications also reduce complexity associated with developing applications by providing a way to unify services regardless of programming language and deployment platform.

Since November 2005, 18 companies have joined the effort to work on new industry specifications aimed at simplifying SOA application development, including BEA Systems, Cape Clear, IBM, Interface21, IONA, Oracle, Primeton Technologies, Progress Software, Red Hat, Rogue Wave Software, SAP, Siemens, Software AG, Sun Microsystems, Sybase, TIBCO Software, and Xcalia.

"As a founding partner in the SCA/SDO collaboration, Oracle is pleased at how quickly we have reached our goal of maturing these specifications and that OASIS has agreed to move them forward into industry standards," said Don Deutsch, vice president of Standards Strategy and Architecture at Redwood Shores, Calif.-based Oracle, in a statement.

Also in a statement, Jim Rivera, vice president of product management at Cape Clear Software, of San Mateo, Calif., said: "The submission of SCA to OASIS is a significant milestone for this important technology. SCA addresses the need for a comprehensive, cross-platform component model for SOA. We look forward to collaborating with other partners through OASIS to shape the SCA specification and ensure that our customers can realize the full benefits of SOA."

Click here to read about what happens when you mix Web services, SOA and open source.

Meanwhile, "Rogue Wave Software uses SCA to bring concurrent computing to existing applications without requiring expensive upgrades or the removal of existing technologies," said Patrick Leonard, vice president of product development at Rogue Wave Software, in Boulder, Colo., in a statement. "Next month, Rogue Wave Software is slated to launch the first product commercially available for deploying high-performance SOA applications based on SCA – allowing users to increase performance and scalability, take advantage of multicore technologies and maximize IT investments."

Yet, Eric Newcomer, chief technology officer at IONA Technologies, of Waltham, Mass, said when SCA started, IONA was "very eager" to join and participate in the collaboration. "We felt that in particular the assembly specification would be a very significant contribution to SOA standardization," he said and added that IONA has started to use it in the Eclipse STP (SOA Tools Platform) project and in its Artix product line.

"However, we also felt—and said at the time—that we were concerned about the possibility that SCA would trade one complexity for another," Newcomer said. "I just dont think customers are that interested in the next big thing anymore when it comes to programming models. We always felt that the best thing for SCA to do would be to push as much of its functionality into the assembly specification as possible and minimize the amount of annotations added to Java code."

Next Page: The main contribution of SCA.


The main contribution of SCA is the metadata for assembling services developed in multiple languages into an SOA-based application, and the ability to deploy such an SOA-based application across heterogeneous platforms, such as multiple ESBs (Enterprise Service Bus), ESBs and application servers in combination, and other scenarios, Newcomer said.

Moreover, Newcomer said: "We are very glad to have been among the original six partners in the SCA collaboration, and we are very proud that we contributed to the development of several of the Version 1 specifications. But now that we have seen V1 through to the end, and the specifications are going into OASIS, we will be turning our attention more toward contributing to OSGi [Open Services Gateway initiative] and Eclipse."

Further, Newcomer said OSGi and SCA are "definitely complementary." And IONA will continue to incorporate the SCA assembly and policy specs into its work on the Eclipse STP project, and into its Artix and Celtix products "where it makes sense, so we will be keeping a hand in," Newcomer said.

"But in terms of where we will be spending our efforts on contributing to further SOA standardization work, we will definitely be focusing more on the enterprise expert group recently started at OSGi," Newcomer said. "With the relative maturity of SCA now indicated by this announcement, the lightweight, simple architecture of OSGi is a very attractive place to put our efforts."

Ronald Schmelzer, an analyst with ZapThink, said the Open SOA effort is really an effort by the heterogeneous vendors to provide a common means for interaction with regard to service execution and data access. "Certainly on the face of it, it would seem that those products that provide even a moderate level of interoperability will fare better than those that dont," Schmelzer said.

And this is the case in environments where companies have purchased multiple instances of SOA infrastructure from multiple vendors, Schmelzer said.

However, Schmelzer said ZapThink is starting to see consolidation by users in the number of vendors they involve in their SOA efforts.

"While interoperability in theory is good, in practice, many end users are opting for single vendor solutions," Schmelzer said "So, while Open SOA as an effort doesnt ring false, it doesnt signal any specific new movement on either the part of SOA, which was already open from inception, or vendors, who despite the claims of interoperability still desire sole ownership of their customers SOA infrastructure."

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