Monthly Archives: June 2008

It’s Progress, After All

It definitely seems like a long time since the process started, but this is about as good an outcome as we could have hoped for.

The number of employees who have both IONA and Progress on their LinkedIn page is probably a couple dozen or even more. We have been neighbors in the Boston area for a long time and there has been a lot of cross-pollination.

Although we have been competing in the ESB and SOA space, we have had a common vision and very similar positioning in the market. It’s a bit like two former rivals of the basketball court, each with different strengths and skills, finally getting put on the same team. And it’s actually this aspect that’s the most interesting – putting together two strong teams with complementary expertise.

I started thinking about this because one of the questions we keep getting on the analyst briefings is how we plan to combing the Artix suite and the Sonic ESB family.

First, it’s interesting to note that both companies have been moving away from a “pure” ESB positioning toward a “suite” or “family” of products for SOA. So the question is actually a bit broader: how can we sensibly combine multiple product components and create the best independent and comprehensive “anti-stack” SOA offering?

Some of the specific details are yet to be worked out, but we have always known that even while we were promoting Artix as a unique, configurable microkernel aimed at endpoint integration requirements, the Sonic family’s approach, based on leading JMS technology, is something that meets a lot of different and equally important SOA requirements. The Artix suite’s focus on distributed service enablement actually adds a lot to the Sonic family, and even as we positioned ourselves competitively in the past I think we each always knew this somehow.

One of the more interesting aspects is the future of the FUSE product line and the view of the combined company toward the open source projects with which we’ve been involved. We have already seen this commment on the Server Side. As one of the folks who champoined getting involved in open source I am glad to say the Progress folks I’ve spoken with are very interested and enthusiastic supporters, and see a lot of value in the announced acquisition in helping to get more involved in open source.

We have also worked together as partners. A few years ago we were resellers of the Progress Sonic MQ product, and Artix still offers native integration with Sonic MQ, as does the recently released WCF Connect product. And more recently we had begun integrating the Actional SOA Management product line with the Artix suite and selling them jointly.

A couple of years ago I had the unusual situation of being asked to share a half-day SOA tutorial with someone from Progress. For the first couple of hours we took turns saying exactly the same things about SOA, application architecture, and the unnecessary complexity of Java EE application servers. Then we each took a turn describing how our respective products met the same requirements, and served exactly the same segment of the industry (i.e. SOA infrastructure) with different approaches. Instead of arguing over that, we can now agree 100% and are part of the same team.

First Ever Demo of Distributed OSGi

Yesterday David Bosschaert and I gave the first demo of the new design for distributed OSGi, based on the current draft of the Enterprise Expert Group’s RFC 119, at the OSGi Community Event in Berlin.

Download PDF of Demo Overview

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“Demo Dolly” David Explains Distributed OSGi Demo

The goal of distributed OSGi is to extend the OSGi framework for distributed computing capabilities by configuring an existing distributed computing software system (such as Web services, CORBA, or Eclipse ECF) behind an OSGi service. The demo showed a Web services solution using Apache CXF as the distribution software, but the design should work with any distributed computing system.

The demo used Apache Felix for the OSGi framework and shows the configuration and publication of a remote OSGi service and uses CXF facilities to generate a WSDL file and consumer and provider proxies for the service.

The goal of distributed OSGi is to allow a service running in one OSGi framework to invoke a service running in another, potentially remote, OSGi framework (meaning a framework in a JVM). Today the OSGi standard defines how services talk to each other only within a single JVM. Extensions are needed to allow services to talk with each other across multiple JVMs – thus the requirements for distributed OSGi on which the design is based.

We did not want to invent a new distributed computing system, since so many already exist. (In fact we had pretty strong feedback on that point!) The design introduces some new OSGi properties to identify a service as remote and a discovery service through which a local service can find a remote service and obtain the metadata necessary to interact with that remote service. The design is intended to support any communication protocol and data format (with some constraints of course, having to do with the use of Java request/response interfaces as the service contract). Another goal of the design is to allow services in an OSGi framework to interact with services external to OSGi, both as client and server.

The design uses SCA intents to express a service’s capabilities, and a requester can use these intents as a filter to help discover services with the required capabilities (e.g. security or reliability).

Overall we recieved good feedback, and a lot of questions pertaining to work that still needs to be done. We hope to be able to publish the code to Apache and publish a draft of the design doc this summer, perhaps in August, after we have a chance to formally review the initial implementation with the EEG membership, and get their blessing (no doubt there will be some changes as well since this is just the start).

OSGi Community Event June 11-12

I’m sorry to post this so late, but hopefully it’s not too late to join the fun, especially if you’re in Europe.

The OSGi Community Event is next week, June 11-12, hosted by Deutsche Telekom in Berlin.

There are a lot of interesting topics and speakers on the program, running the gamut from enterprise application servers and databases, to distributed computing, to converting legacy code to OSGi, home automation, trains, telecommunications, embedded applications for mobile devices, etc.

David Bosscheart and I will be giving a demonstration of the first prototype of the RI for distributed OSGi (I have previously blogged about this part of the EEG activity), which together with Spring Dynamic Modules represents one of the big features for the upcoming Enterprise Edition.

Hope to see you there!

Kicking off New England IASA

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Apparently they are still working on the homepage for the New England chapter of IASA, but at least the date and agenda for the initial meeting are set (register here).

The first meeting is set for June 17th from 5-8 pm at the <a href=”Microsoft Office in Cambridge.

The topic is “Software Factories,” which is one of my favorite subjects due to its relationship to domain specific languages.

The speakers are directly involved in developing and applying concepts researched and implemented within the Microsoft Factory initiative, which should provide a very interesting, “practitioner-oriented” view.

Many of you may be familiar with the sometimes heated back and forth discussions in the blogosphere over the years around the different approaches to the problem, whether MDA. MDA/UML, or what Microsoft is doing. This is one of those “holy grails” of software, which is to improve the level of abstraction at which we humans deal with computers, improve our productivity, and help reduce the overall labor costs of software development.

The meeting starts at 5 with a reception, followed by an introduction to IASA at 6. After that John Slaby of Raytheon and Jezz Santos of Microsoft will let us know what’s going on with software factories.

I think it’s great that we’re starting a local chapter of the association of software architects, and hope to see you there!

Update 6/6, see Bob’s blog for additional details.

Saturday’s Tribute to Jim Gray

Hearing today from a friend who attended, I find myself wishing I’d gone out for it. Pat had even sent me an early draft of his contribution. I really should have.

I understand the video will be posted in a couple of days – I will definitely check back for them.

In the meantime, John Markoff has published a nice writeup after the fact, and the LA Times di a good front page piece the day before (I notice Stonehenge also made page 1 that day).

I didn’t know Jim that well, but I knew him well enough to remember his exceptional kindness, friendship, and dedication. And as I have said many times, no one helped us more with our TP book than Jim. The last time I heard from him, in fact, was his (as usual) helpful review of our proposal for a second edition, which we are still trying to finish (hopefully this summer).

The best tribute I can think of is to do the kind of job he’d want me to do. I am just sorry it doesn’t really look like I will be hearing from him directly (and kindly, of course) how and where I didn’t quite measure up…