IBM Takes the Veil Off Project Vela

IBM puts a name on its strategy to componentize its middleware on the way to delivering SOAs.

IBM Corp. has put a name on its strategy to componentize its middleware on the way to delivering service-oriented architectures (SOAs), primarily through componentizing its WebSphere application server in a project known as "Vela," company officials said.

IBM has long discussed its plans to componentize its middleware such that all the companys different brands—WebSphere, Tivoli, DB2, Lotus and Rational—can be used interchangeably across the code base as IBM moves toward service-oriented computing.

"Vela," which is the code name for the componentized version of WebSphere—expected next year—represents the keystone of the IBM componentization strategy.

"There are two challenges that any company, and especially IBM, will face in trying to accelerate the pace of SOA adoption among end-users," said Ronald Schmelzer, an analyst with ZapThink LLC, Cambridge, Mass.

"The first is that while technologies and even standards-based technologies like Web services are fairly straightforward to sell, architectures are much more complicated. In particular, its very hard to put architecture into a single product and sell that. What I mean is that companies cant just buy a product and expect the product to give them architecture. Architecture emerges from best practices, experience and a set of disciplines that enable the company to realize the benefits of the architecture. In the case of SOA, those benefits are loose coupling, coarse granularity and asynchrony. While one or two of those might be facilitated by a product, you cant really instantly get an SOA by implementing a product," said Schmelzer.

Meanwhile, IBM Thursday announced new support for Web services security standards—such as the WS-Security specification, the Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) and Kerberos—as another step toward supporting SOA.

IBM will support the specifications across its WebSphere line and its Tivoli identity management software, said Bob Sutor, IBMs director of WebSphere infrastructure software. "We have a security story across our middleware portfolio," he said.

"Why were doing SAML and Kerberos is because as we do service-oriented architectures more and more information is going to span companies," and enterprises can make use of IBM federated security infrastructure to manage security of the services moving through their systems, Sutor said.

"This is a continuation of the story, in that were putting in, piece by piece, the stuff our customers need," Sutor said. "Our strategy is to make as many of the pieces as pluggable as possible" so that users will have choice, he said.

During this quarter, IBM will add security enhancements to WebSphere through a new version of the Tivoli Access Manager, version 5.1. Also, IBM will add support for defining security policies in WebSphere Business Integration and WebSphere MQ, the company said.