Specs Advance Web Services Reliability

But do the two Microsoft/IBM-led specifications compete with the WS_Reliability spec?

Microsoft Corp., IBM, BEA Systems Inc. and Tibco Software Inc. Thursday announced two new Web services specifications that advance Web services reliability, but that also seemingly compete with existing Web services reliability efforts put forth by Sun Microsystems Inc., Oracle Corp. and others.

The two new specifications are known as WS-ReliableMessaging and WS-Addressing, and they support the reliable, end-to-end delivery of Web services messaging, officials of the companies said. Meanwhile, IBM and Microsoft also announced a road map titled "Reliable Message Delivery in a Web Services World: A Proposed Architecture and Roadmap," which defines a basic architecture—including protocols, data formats and scenarios—for Web services reliability.

However, the newly announced specifications run close to the WS-Reliability specification that Sun, Oracle, Iona Technologies Inc., Sonic Software Corp., Fujitsu Limited, Hitachi Ltd., NEC Corp., CommerceOne Operations Inc., SeeBeyond Technology Corp., webMethods Inc. and SAP AG submitted as a proposed standard and built the Web Services Reliable Messaging (WS-RM) Technical Committee around in the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS).

Although elements of the two Web services reliability standards efforts are different, the naming and timing are enough to confuse developers and confuse the industry as Web services continue to gain in popularity and as the community needs to unite to overcome obstacles to widespread adoption, sources said.

However, Karla Norsworthy, director of dynamic e-business technology at IBM, said, "We hope it is not confusing. Its our strong goal to drive toward a single industry goal in this space." The IBM/Microsoft-led group had been working on its specification when the Sun/Oracle-led group announced its efforts, Norsworthy said, adding, "We said wed really like to finish our work and publish it, and then drive toward convergence."

Steven Van Roekel, director of Web services at Microsoft, said the goal is to follow a similar path that IBM and Microsoft took with WS-Security, a security specification that wound up in OASIS. "Well get industry feedback and some point in the future take it to a standards body," he said, but added that it is too soon to say where the specification will go.

In an interview with eWEEK, Jeff Mischkinsky, Oracles director of Web services and the companys lead representative on the OASIS WS-RM technical committee, said he could not speak for what "IBsoft" is doing in this space, but that the OASIS group is set to have its first meeting in two weeks. Mischkinsky said he believes companies "should not be competing on standards, we should be competing on products."