It started with a checkpoint on “the state of SOA monitoring and management” by Doug McClure. A good set of questions and a good list of “usual suspects” (but how much did Actional pay to be listed twice?).
Then came this good article from AMIS’ Lucas Jellema reporting on what he learned during a recent Oracle SOA Partner event. He pokes fun at Oracle/BEA for conveniently tweaking their “this is what you need” story to align with the “this is what we offer” part (I am shocked, SHOCKED to hear that a vendor would do that, let alone my employer). But the real focus of his article is to describe the importance of design-time SOA governance (integrated with the other parts of the lifecycle). He does a good job at describing some of the value of the consolidated Oracle/BEA offering.
I couldn’t help smiling when I read this paragraph:
“It struck me that most of what applies in terms of Governance to SOA assets, also applies to other assets in any software engineering process. Trying to manage reusable components for example or even implementing a good maintenance approach for a non-SOA application is a tremendous challenge, that has many parallels with SOA Governance. And to some extent could benefit from applying a tooling infrastructure such as provided by the Enterprise Repository… Well, just a thought for now. I need to know more about the ER before jumping to conclusions.”
If my memory serves me right, the original Flashline product that BEA acquired (what became the Enterprise Repository) was just that, a generic metadata repository for software assets, not something SOA-specific. It’s ironic to see Lucas look at it now and think “hey, maybe this SOA repository can be used for non-SOA apps”. Back to the future. And BTW, Lucas is right about this applicability, as Michael Stamback soon confirmed.
Still in Oracle-land, a few days later came the news that Oracle is acquiring ClearApp. Doug’s post was more about runtime governance (which he calls monitoring/management, and I tend to agree with him even though this is fighting the tide) than design-time governance. In that sense, the ClearApp announcement is more relevant to his questions than Lucas’ post. The ClearApp capabilities fit squarely with Doug’s request for “providing the right level of business visibility into the SOA environment and more importantly the e2e business services, applications, transactions, processes and activities”, as I tried to illustrate before.
More recently, Software AG announced an OEM partnership with Actional (part of Progress) to bring runtime data to its CentraSite registry (which, I assume, comes from the Infravio acquisition by WebMethods before it itself was swallowed by Software AG).
Actional’s Dan Foody of course applauds and uses the opportunity to dispel some FUD (“Actional is tightly tied with Sonic”) and also generate some new FUD (“no vendor had even a half decent offering on both sides [design-time and runtime] of the fence”).
Neil Macehiter has a more neutral commentary on the Software AG news. His analysis ends with some questions about what this means for Amberpoint. Maybe it’s time to restart the “Microsoft might acquire Amberpoint” rumor.
Speaking of Microsoft, the drum roll is getting louder in anticipation for Oslo making its debut at the upcoming PDC. That’s a topic for another post though.
This Oslo detour is a little bit off topic, but not so much. The way Don Box and team envision that giant software model shaping up they probably picture what’s called today “SOA Governance” as just a small application that an intern can build in a week on top of the Oslo repository. Or I am exaggerating?
Unlike Dan Foody I like the approach of keeping SOA Governance closely integrated with the development and IT management infrastructures. At the cost of quoting myself (if I don’t, who will?) “it’s not just about managing Web services or Web sites, it’s about managing the whole SOA application”.
[UPDATED 2008/9/23: It looks like the relationship between CentraSite and Infravio is a little bit more complex than I assumed.]