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Loosely Coupled weblog

Friday, October 29, 2004

Weekly notes

SOA meets on-demand; entities with identity; BPM/BPEL news and Jeff Tonkel's new blog; November 3rd. This posting is intended to be the first of a regular weekly feature, in which I'll be doing a round-up of items that caught my interest during the week. I see so many things each week that I want to comment on, but rarely get the chance. This will allow me to reference more items of information, if only briefly, and to highlight emerging trends based on a look back at the week's news announcements and other events.

My one reservation with the format is that it moves away from the one-topic-per-page format that this weblog adopted at the beginning of the year. However I hope to counter that by giving each separate item its own permalink, using the # symbol before each subheading.

# The convergence of SOA and on-demand is one of the themes I'm eager to explore further. "I'm buying very little software these days," wrote InfoWorld's CTO Chad Dickerson earlier this week. Open source is one option, but, he writes, another "more interesting emerging scenario is the web-based hosted service with a well-documented web services API," such as's sforce: "I think of this phenomenon as 'open outsourcing'," he adds, "— a service that sits outside of my datacenter with secure access to a rich API. Platforms such as sforce dispel the notion that outsourcing is about cramming a variety of square-pegged businesses into a single hosted round hole."

I suspect that the more that enterprises adopt service-oriented models, the more they'll realize that it doesn't matter whether the service resides within their infrastructure or is hosted by an external provider. In fact a professionally-run, externally hosted service will often be both more reliable and more cost-effective than one that's been cobbled together internally on a shoe-string.

# Entities have identity, too. Speaking at Digital ID World this week, Novell chief strategist Justin Taylor pointed out that it's not just people that have identities within an SOA; documents, servers and other resources do too — doubtless he meant to include services themselves in the list. He went on to outline what he called the "identity driven computing model," an idea that "relies on loosely coupled directories," according to Phil Windley's notes of the talk. Personally, I'm surprised that such a fundamental notion should come as a novelty to anyone interested enough in digital identity to attend the show. It's obvious, isn't it?

# Announcements that caught my eye this week included a clutch of BPEL/BPM launches:

  • A big moment for Intalio, which began shipping Intalio|Apex for mySAP Business Suite. The company has high hopes of this product.
  • General availability of the recently open-sourced ActiveBPEL engine
  • Lombardi Software released TeamWorks 5, boasting high-level modeling, "drag-and-drop" BAM (now there's a thought) and full support for BPMN.
  • Dralasoft announced its Java-based BPEL Orchestrator.
  • Metastorm added process modeling to its BPM suite, using technology from process analysis vendor iGrafx.

Also, Infravio's CEO Jeff Tonkel has started a blog. The initial impact was mildly undermined by the lack of an RSS feed, but to Infravio's and Jeff's credit, this oversight was rectified the next day.

# What is it about November 3rd? The very same day that Loosely Coupled is having our first event to meet up with SOA adopters in London, a completely separate initiative to bring together SOA adopters has its first meeting in Chicago. The SOA Leaders Council aims to foster knowledge exchange between SOA adopters and has been set up by SOA suppliers AmberPoint, Reactivity and ThoughtWorks, according to the press release issued yesterday. It sounds a bit more formal and structured than the Loosely Coupled Executive Retreat Series, which has been organized by CXO Systems with support from Blue Titan and Loosely Coupled: we're just aiming to bring people together, and how they interact after that is up to them. Unfortunately, the clash of date means that, now Concorde no longer flies (more's the shame), attendees will have to choose between one or the other. If you're tempted to join us in London, see my previous blog entry and drop me an email. We already have a very full guest list, but I'm sure we can still fit in one or two more.

posted by Phil Wainewright 10:00 AM (GMT) | comments | link

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