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No I haven't been in hiding but as the proverb says 'there is no rest for the wicked', so I must have been very bad. Anyway, I have a new house which has meant tarting up the old one and work has been ultra hectic but our websites for a well known travel brand are going live one at a time. Anyway, I hoping from a nice summer to get stuck into some good tech.

Microsoft has also been busy, it is becoming crystal clears days where Redmond is heading with Service Oriented Architecture. For example John Evdemon, an architect with the Microsoft Architecture Strategy Team has published an initial draft of the introductory chapter of a Microsoft Abstract SOA Reference Model. According to Evdemon this paper shall serve as an abstract reference for understanding, designing and building software architectures that adhere to service-oriented principles.

It is clearly going to be an interesting read, straight off the bat the one of the most commonly asked questions of where does Biztalk and Windows Workflow sits in SOA is answered.

"Composing services requires some sort of workflow or orchestration mechanism. Microsoft provides these capabilities via BizTalk Server 2006 (BTS) or Windows Workflow Foundation (WF). While BTS and WF may appear to serve similar needs, they are actually quite different. WF and BTS are complementary technologies designed to serve two very different needs:

  • BTS is a licensed product designed to implement workflow (“orchestrations”) across disparate applications and platforms.
  • WF is a developer framework designed to expose workflow capabilities within your application. There are no fees or licensing restrictions associated with using or deploying WF."

Microsoft approach to SOA is clearly based on pragmatism as the Alchemy project to design Microsoft's Service Oriented Infrastructure displays.

In summary, Microsoft are charting there own way in the murky waters of SOA, there technology stack is different and so it would seem is the approach. Obviously this is great on the one hand that Microsoft are working hard and listening rather than follow the herd but deeply frustrating on the other as I'm now unable to compare Microsoft's offers with the opposition as products are not easily comparable.

So Microsoft SOA strategy is a work in progress, more evidence of this is the recently publication of a number of documents and diagrams on SOI or Service Orientated Infrastructure which is codenamed Alchemy where Microsoft has devoted a site to the understanding of three main things:

  1. A decomposition of the SOA domain and its lifecycles
  2. Reference Architectures demostrating how others have built infrastructures to support SOA
  3. A methodology to put in the right capabilities that make sense for the business and enterprise

SOI is clearly more than a work in progress and is a must read for anyone attempting to build a SOA using Microsoft technology.

Ok, so I'm very please that the picture is getting clearer but I still feel that Microsoft is finding it hard to get the message out as I have read very little about Abstract Reference Model and SOI else where. I know that SOA doesn't set the Blogshere alight but SOA is such a hot topic right now in development cycles that it is important that message gets to Developers and Architects designing SOA solutions as clearly a lot of lost time could be avoided by finding these resources before hand.

Posted on Thursday, May 3, 2007 4:14 PM SOA , Main | Back to top

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