New Business Objects Platform Crystallizes

With Business Objects now implementing Web service-based interfaces, is it time to start thinking about them as getting ready for "self-aware" applications that could use Grid services and Service Oriented Infrastructure?

SOA redesign includes integrated Office client -


The Enterprise: Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA)

An interesting point of view regarding SOA and why it's NOT just synonymous with "Web services-based implementation".  The premise here is that, once implemented on the back of Web services, SOA incorporates the orchestratraion, choreography, workflow .... whatever term you'd like to use for business logic or process logic .... on top of the Web services infrastructure.

...Web services technology has now advanced so that functions within existing application programs and suites - as well as functions within ERP (enterprise resource planning, CRM (customer relationship management), SCM (supply chain management) and other packages - can be easily and reliably published to an intranet or the Internet for remote execution using SOAP, WSDL and UDDI. But what has been missing until now is an automated way to invoke available Web services based on business rules. This technology is now becoming available with business process management languages and tools.

Until now, the term "service-oriented architecture" (SOA) has been synonymous with "Web services." I use SOA more precisely: to invoke Web services using business process management tools and languages. This is an important distinction. SOA is expected to make a significant contribution to the future of systems development technologies as indicated in the following paragraphs.


[DM Review]


Firms Cry Out for 'Optimization'

Whether it's called utility computing, fabric computing (the focus of this reported RBC event), grid computing, the objective of deployment is the optimal use of resources.  An article in Byte and Switch that calls out a number of interesting companies in the space, including Evident Software and PlateSpin, as well as the venerable Platform Computing.

...The reason is clear: Until recently, many companies simply added servers and storage as needed to accommodate the needs of many individual departments and applications, resulting in islands of SANs, servers, and other gear. With IT budgets still constrained, CIOs are now trying to "consolidate and rationalize" what they've got, using new software tools.

These tools are aimed at so-called fabric computing, wherein underlying physical storage devices and computers are made into abstract entities via software, then grouped together into a virtual mass of available resources. The IT department uses this virtual pool to assign storage and computing space to applications and users as it's needed -- the old "utility computing" approach. ...

[Byte and Switch]


Managed services: The way of the future

Thomas Nolle of CIMI Corp has an opinion / forecast piece in NetworkWorld Fusion on the (almost) inevitable arrival of managed services from the carriers.

Managed services: The way of the future



However, 2005 might be the year when the real justification of managed services emerges - the justification that the user doesn't have any choice, because the carriers phase out legacy offerings. What will happen is that services are going to polarize into a low-cost, low-touch, high-capacity commodity and a higher-touch managed service. A lot of the traditional services will be squeezed out completely, or more accurately, absorbed into managed services.

Let's take VPNs for an example. What do buyers like about a VPN? Its low cost, hardly the attribute a carrier wants to promote if that same carrier is selling the user the service the VPN is intended to replace. But suppose we wrap up VPN services into a managed service framework, including customer premises equipment and support? Now there are service features to promote, which the carriers hope will help keep prices from falling too much.


The goal of this kind of substitution isn't to generate obscene profits or pick buyers' pockets. It's to keep profit margins at survivable levels. What's going to happen is that managed service pricing will stabilize at something like traditional pricing for frame relay or ATM. Carriers will switch to IP infrastructure to lower service costs, thus raising margins.




Xen -- the way to paravirtualization

This past week saw the announcement of Xensource, a company founded to develop and support the Xen hypervisor, the product of an open source project which has arguably produced the best open source X86 virtual machine monitor or system virtualizer.

Xen is a virtual machine monitor for x86 that supports execution of multiple guest operating systems with unprecedented levels of performanceand resource isolation. Xen is Open Source software, released under the terms of the GNU General Public License. We have a fully functional ports of Linux 2.4 and 2.6 running over Xen, and regularly use it for running demanding applications like MySQL, Apache and PostgreSQL. Any Linux distribution (RedHat, SuSE, Debian, Mandrake) should run unmodified over the ported OS.  ...

Xensource is backed by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & byers and Sevin Rosen Funds, who have put $6M up for their Series A funding.

For a very nice, though a bit biased, description of Xen, see an article by Andrew Warfield and Keir Fraser (both members of the University of Cambridge project team) that appeared in last October's Linux Journal.

Xen, a new, high-performance x86 virtualization system, saves money, boosts usage

by Andrew Warfield and Keir Fraser

...Hardware virtualization allows multiple operating systems to run simultaneously on the same hardware. With such a system, many servers can run on the same physical host, providing more cost-effective use of valuables resources, including CPU, power, and space. Additionally, separate instances of one or more operating systems can be isolated from each other, providing an additional degree of security and easier management of system-wide resources like configuration files and library versions.

Up until now, there have been no open source solutions for efficient, low-level virtualization of operating systems. But now there's Xen, a virtual machine manager (VMM) developed at the University of Cambridge. ...