Microsoft takes proprietary shortcut to SOA

Microsoft takes proprietary shortcut to SOA

Can a locked in SOA still be considered an SOA?

Microsoft plans to enhance its existing middleware products and introduce new products in an effort to catch up with the Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) space.

The company on Tuesday bundled its SOA efforts under the Project Oslo banner and proclaimed that the project would allow firms to achieve its benefits without the associated complexities.

Microsoft for instance plans to add SOA functionality to its forthcoming BizTalk Server 6 and add SOA support to .Net Framework 4. The Visual Studio .Net 10 developer tool will gain application life-cycle management features, and Microsoft said that is working to align metadata repositories across its middleware products.

Microsoft mentions components that are essential parts of any SOA. But by using closed standards and proprietary interfaces, it is choosing to ignore the fundamental underpinnings of such an architecture, cautioned Ron Schmeltzer, a senior analyst with Zapthink.

"They are not playing ball with anybody else playing the SOA game," Schmeltzer said.

"The core Microsoft customer base will be excited. For them it's a strong step forward. But enterprise architects with a heterogeneous architecture will say: 'I'll wait until it's open standards based.'"

Service oriented architectures allow applications to be built out of components or services. Such services – for instance a currency conversion module or login functionality – will be centrally maintained and developed, and can be used throughout the company, between companies or as a rented service from an outside provider.

Standards based SOAs allow users to swap out components. Users for instance can purchase a repository from BEA and use it with IBM's Websphere web server and Software AG's security module. Companies furthermore can share services without the need for special translators or integration modules.

Microsoft's SOA won't offer any of those benefits.