Sun Gets Behind SOAs

Project Kitty Hawk system to ease implementation.

The major-vendor push behind service-oriented architectures was completed last week as Sun Microsystems Inc. stepped into the SOA fray, joining Microsoft Corp., Oracle Corp., BEA Systems Inc. and IBM.

At its JavaOne conference here, Sun, of Santa Clara, Calif., introduced Project Kitty Hawk, a technology for implementing SOAs, and an SOA readiness assessment service.

John Loiacono, executive vice president of Suns Software Group, said Sun will roll out 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 starting in the first half of next year.

The competing SOA offerings bode well for Web services by ensuring developers have interoperable services across different platforms.

"SOA is a state of mind. You really change the way you think about how you do your applications," said Jeremy Sharpe, a software architect with Northrup Grumman Corp. who works at the U.S. Army Recruiting Command in Fort Knox, Ky. Sharpe said his organization is "planning for a [Sun] readiness assessment for SOA."

Suns strategy is to simplify the creation of SOAs and to ease the tasks of administering, securing and provisioning services for SOA environments. Part of the strategy includes Sun Software Services Readiness Assessment tools. Sun will use portions of its Sun Appliance for Live Software Analysis, or SALSA, to do the assessments, said John Crupi, a Sun distinguished engineer and chief architect at Sun Professional Services.

"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." Project Kitty Hawk will feature Suns next-generation business integration infrastructure, Java Business Integration, which is based on Java Specification Request 208.

Besides the assessment tools, Sun introduced Project Disco, a visual tool for assembling Web services using BPEL (Business Process Execution Language), officials said.

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.


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