Suns Kitty Hawk Helps SOAs Soar

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2004-06-29

Suns Kitty Hawk Helps SOAs Soar

SAN FRANCISCO—Although Monday was the day of the Tiger at Sun Microsystems Inc.s JavaOne conference here, the company also introduced another animal, the Kitty Hawk—its new service-oriented architecture strategy.

Sun introduced its latest release of the Java platform, Java 2 Standard Edition 5.0, also known as Tiger, at the conference Monday, but it also introduced Kitty Hawk, which features Sun technology for implementing SOAs as well as a service doing SOA readiness assessments.

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John Loiacono, executive vice president of Suns Software Group, during the morning keynote address Monday said Sun will roll out the Project Kitty Hawk components in the Sun Java Enterprise System and Sun Java Studio Enterprise developer environment over the next two years, with initial deliveries beginning in the first half of next year.

The strategy is to simplify the creation of SOAs and to ease the tasks of administering, securing and provisioning services for SOA environments, the company said.

Part of the strategy includes a Sun Software Services Readiness Assessment. Sun will use portions of its Sun Appliance for Live Software Analysis, or SALSA, project to do the assessments, said John Crupi, a Sun distinguished engineer and chief architect at Sun Professional Services.

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"The idea behind it is we go in to a customer and help them understand that SOA is not just an architectural style but real stuff, so they have to think about all the implications for their current infrastructure, and we score them in terms of readiness," Crupi said. "Were expressing the reality that you dont just press a button and say youre SOA ready. Ninety-nine percent of our customers have legacy environments, so theres a lot of wrap and reuse involved." Indeed, Kitty Hawk will feature Suns next-generation business integration infrastructure, JBR (Java Business Integration), based on JSR (Java Specification Request) 208, which Sun is leading.

Speaking at a panel on JBI, Gordon Van Huizen, chief technology officer at Sonic Software Corp., said, "While JBI is a future spec, what were talking about here isnt entirely speculative."

Mark Hapner, a Sun distinguished engineer and one of the leaders of the JBI specification, said, "I think that developers in the end want the freedom to construct their applications with a mixture of technologies. This is one of the important things about Web services and SOAs. You want to capture the semantics of a service and have that as a separate artifact. And developers want to deliver these services in a way that benefits their flexibility."

Meanwhile, Crupi said Suns primary competitors in the SOA space, BEA Systems Inc. and IBM, are focusing their SOA strategies "very much around products," including an integration server, while Sun is putting an emphasis on services. And although IBM also emphasizes services in its strategy, it differs from Suns approach, Crupi said.

"Our strategy is not to come in and take over but to come in and augment and educate," he said. "We can incrementally and iteratively get you to SOA."

Other tools involved in Suns SOA strategy include Java Studio Creator and a visual Web services designer that will enable rapid design of Web services. The tool will be made available through the Sun Developer Network, the company said.

"With the announcement of Project Kitty Hawk, Sun makes the important step from offering only Web services tools to providing a true SOA framework to the marketplace," said Jason Bloomberg, an analyst with ZapThink LLC, of Waltham, Mass.

"By creating a framework for exposing reusable services based upon a central registry, combined with an SOA management infrastructure that will enable companies to manage service versioning, service levels and security policies, Sun is quickly positioning itself as a viable alternative in the growing SOA implementation framework space.

"The primary challenge Sun has, however, is their Java-centricity. In spite of the detente with Microsoft, any talk of .Net support is nonexistent or on the back burner. This Java worldview risks limiting Sun to selling only to Java shops, even though todays typical enterprise has a broadly heterogeneous infrastructure."

T.N. Subramaniam, chief technology architect at RouteOne LLC, a Southfield, Mich., credit management provider, said, "We were forced into this direction by sheer business necessity."

Suns competitors kept pace last week. Microsoft released new content for its .Net Architecture Center, including the companys Metropolis project, which is a model for building SOAs, said Charles Fitzgerald, general manager of platform strategies at Microsoft, of Redmond, Wash.

Oracle, of Redwood Shores, Calif., bolstered its SOA story by acquiring Collaxa Inc. and gaining its BPEL engine.

In May, IBM, of Armonk, N.Y., announced a series of SOA Design Centers that complement IBMs SOA software and services offerings. The Middleware Co., a division of Veritas Software Corp., in Mountain View, Calif., said IBM, Sun, Microsoft, BEA, in San Jose, Calif., and others have announced support for SOA Blueprints, a set of best practices for developing applications that use SOA.

Editors Note: This story was updated to include information on Suns competitors.

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