In a keynote at the ApacheCon conference of open-source developers and users, Sam Ramji, senior director of platform strategy at Microsoft, outlined a series of new moves the software giant has made regarding interoperability as it continues to make nice with the open-source community.
At the Apache Software Foundation’s conference in New Orleans on Nov. 7, Ramji spoke of Microsoft’s “greater participation and growth with open-source communities, and our strategy of ‘architecting for participation,'” Ramji said in a blog post following his keynote.
Microsoft’s strategy focuses on four themes: community, contribution, partnerships and choice, Ramji said. “Microsoft believes that the next 10 years of software will be a time of growth and change where both open-source and Microsoft communities will grow together,” he added.
Among the many moves Microsoft has made, Ramji noted that the company recently joined the Advanced Message Queuing Protocol (AMQP) Working Group as a participant, with the goal of contributing to the development of the specification and to enable greater customer choice in the marketplace.
And, “at the request of community members, we have now committed to participate in the Apache Qpid project, a widely adopted open-source implementation of the AMQP specification that addresses the customer need for choice and improved messaging interoperability,” Ramji said.
“Our customers are telling us that they would like to see the Apache Qpid project extended to interoperate with Windows, so the next few months of participation will be focused on understanding the community’s effort to build Windows-based AMQP software. Participation will give us the opportunity to learn from other project participants, so that we can be in a position to consider making a valuable contribution. But it is important to note that the Apache Qpid project is just one of many AMQP specification implementations, and we are open to supporting additional projects.”
Alexis Richardson, co-founder of CohesiveFT, told eWEEK: “Microsoft joining means validation of the ‘mission’ of AMQP to open up, massively grow and fundamentally simplify the AMQP market. What is needed is something that combines the open standard plug-and-go cheap-to-use nature of TCP with the richer features of smarter messaging protocols. There is no standard way to connect systems together. Currently, customers have to choose between expensive lock-in via the IBM monopoly or similar and hand-made systems. Web services are too complicated and general purpose. AMQP business messaging is the way out of this mess. So AMQP is an open Internet protocol for solving this pain, like TCP. Now the biggest software vendor has bought in.”
Ramji also said Microsoft has been working with open-source SOA (service-oriented architecture) infrastructure software provider WSO2 to demonstrate interoperability using Microsoft’s StockTrader reference application. “Today, the WSO2 announced they would build an open-source version of the sample application under ‘Project Stonehenge,’ which is a new Apache incubation project,” he said.
Moreover, WSO2 will use the project to set up sample applications that demonstrate seamless interoperability across multiple underlying platform technologies, using currently defined W3C and OASIS standard protocols, Ramji said.
Ramji said his team has been working closely with that of Jean Paoli, the general manager of Interoperability Strategy at Microsoft, whose team is driving much of this interoperability work.
In addition, Ramji said Microsoft has moved the development of protocol parsers for Microsoft Network Monitor-a free protocol analyzer and network sniffer known as “Netmon”-to an open-source model. Microsoft will host the effort on its CodePlex community development site. On CodePlex, Microsoft will host the development of parsers for public protocols and for protocols described in the company’s Open Protocol Specifications for Windows, he said. An updated parser package has been released and a source tree created on CodePlex, Ramji said.
“We want Netmon to be the best-of-breed tool for network monitoring at Microsoft, not just for Windows,” he said.
Ramji also told the ApacheCon audience that the company’s “Oslo” software modeling technology will be included under Microsoft’s Open Specification Promise. “This will ensure that the ‘Oslo’ declarative modeling language, code-named ‘M,’ is interoperable with prominent industry standards such as WS* specifications, X M L formats, industry protocols and security standards,” he said.
“Two of the core focuses for Oslo are integration and interoperability. As such, it will integrate with next-gen Microsoft technologies, including System Center, Visual Studio and BizTalk Server. We also plan to work with partners and the industry, so as to make Oslo interoperable with important standards and industry protocols. One of the key ways we think customers will achieve customization for their platforms is through the use of textual and visual DSLs [domain-specific languages], which can be written uniquely by the developer for vertical industries and specific domains, or they can use pre-existing DSLs in these same scenarios. The hope is that we will establish a broad and open ecosystem around “M” that will enable customers to bring the power of model-driven applications and systems to their heterogeneous environments.“
Also, Ramji said, on the Live Search front, Microsoft’s Powerset team recently resumed its participation with HBase, the Hadoop database, which is related to infrastructural storage technology enabling large-scale data processing. In July, Microsoft announced its acquisition of Powerset, a search and natural language company that is now part of the Microsoft Live Search team.
“The HBase project receives significant lift from the active community that supports the project, and Powerset’s continued participation on HBase could allow us to accelerate the integration of Powerset’s technology into Live Search, resulting in improvements to the end-user experience,” Ramji said.