Sun Makes Case for WS-I Seat

Sun makes strong case for why the Unix systems vendor should win a seat on the Web Services Interoperability Organization's board of directors.

Sun Microsystems Inc.s nominee for the board of the Web Services Interoperability Organization (WS-I) made a strong case for why the Unix systems vendor should win one of two available board seats. WS-I will announce the winners at the end of March.

Mark Hapner, Suns lead architect for Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) and chief Web services strategist for Java Web services, said he is pleased to have the opportunity to run for the WS-I board slot and that Sun has participated "strongly" in the organization since it joined last October. Sun has participated in WS-I efforts involving business process integration and developing sample applications for testing interoperability, and also chairs a WS-I security working group. The Santa Clara, Calif., company also has been instrumental in developing and promoting Web services standards such as WS-Reliability, he said. And Sun has made conformance to the WS-I Basic Profile 1.0 a requirement of J2EE 1.4 compliance, he added.

"Sun has a long history and we can bring that history to the board," Hapner said. "Our focus is on ensuring that interoperability is given the proper value and that standards are provided in a royalty-free manner. We want to see the whole process of creating standards be as open and democratic as possible."

Suns work with the Java Community Process, which is the multi-vendor coalition that votes on Java platform specifications, gives the company an advantage over competitors for the slot as well, Hapner said.

"We found in our work in the Java compatibility arena that it takes significant investment and dogged persistence to achieve interoperability," he said. "The payback is customers feel secure in broadly pursuing interoperability."

Indeed, Suns Java expertise itself is a distinguishing factor that voting WS-I members ought to consider, the company said.

"We are the representative for Java and J2EE, which will be one of the two primary platforms on which people will develop Web services," Hapner said. Sun has been strongly involved in the evolution of Simple Object Access Protocol 1.2 and Web Services Description, as well as other specifications and foundational Web technologies, he said. And, "personally, I bring a perspective that combines experience at both levels. As chief Web services strategist for Java Web services, I focus on the Java Web services stack and evolving it in an open interoperable manner, and then applying it back to the platform."

Sun joined the organization in October—despite not being invited in as a founding member when WS-I was formed in February 2002. Now, should Sun win a slot as a newly elected director, it would have a term limit of one or two years—whereas the nine founding members have permanent board seats.

"We appreciate the opportunity to run for this position," Hapner said. "We would have liked to have had a more permanent seat on the board, but if we win, I believe our actions and our record would allow us to continue on the board. We would establish a record of strong support and active participation," he added.

In response to complaints from some of the other companies running for a seat that WS-Is agenda seemed geared toward larger companies, Hapner said he believes company size does not matter.

"I think whats important is that the board reflect the desires of the broad organization and the size of the company itself is not as important as the viewpoint," he said. "I think that Sun brings a different viewpoint to the board than many others" on it. The biggest hurdle to overcome is interoperability, he said.

WS-I officials said elections would be held in mid-March, with the results being announced March 28 and the new directors beginning their terms on April 1, 2003.

The nominated companies and individuals are: Hapner; Jorgen Thelin, chief scientist at Cape Clear; Juhani Murto, senior manager of Web services architecture at Nokia; Ugo Corda, principal standards analyst at SeeBeyond; Sundar Krishnamurthy, a product manager at VeriSign; and Andy Astor, vice president of Enterprise Web Services at webMethods.

More than 150 companies have joined WS-I since its formation last February.

WS-Is nine founding members are Accenture Inc., BEA Systems Inc., Fujitsu Ltd., Hewlett-Packard Co., IBM Corp., Intel Corp., Microsoft Corp., Oracle Corp. and SAP AG.

  • Search for more stories by Darryl Taft.
  • Search for more stories on Web services.