Governance has risen to top of mind at many enterprises building out service-oriented architectures, and two words we hear frequently are "registry" and "repository" -- the two terms have been joined at the hip, and even used interchangeably. But they serve two different roles. This week, in the wake of BEA's announcement that it is acquiring Flashline, I had the opportunity to speak with Paul Patrick, chief architect for BEA's AquaLogic product line, and Charles Stack, founder and CEO, of Flashline, who spelled out the differences.
I also asked BEA's Patrick about the vendor's relationship with HP and Mercury/Systinet, since this announcement came so shortly after the HP-Mercury deal, and BEA partners with Systinet to sell its registry. BEA will be offering a registry and a repository as two separate but 'loosely coupled' itemsPatrick said that BEA would continue to sell Systinet under its AquaLogic Service Registry banner. Flashline would be rebranded as part of the AquaLogic Enterprise Repository.
So BEA will be offering a registry (Systinet) and a repository (Flashline) as two separate but "loosely coupled" items within its solution set. Patrick distinguishes between registry and repository this way: A registry "should be primarily focused at runtime kinds of environments," he says. "We’re trying to find the service, and its binding information, so we can connect to it." A repository, however, is more focused on design time activities, he says.
How do the two go together? "The reality is the repository doesn’t hold the actual definition of the service," Patrick explained. "Rather, it holds multiple definitions of the service at different points in its lifespan. But only one of those versions at one point in time is published to be used in the production environment." Such is the job of the registry.
ZDNet blogging colleague Dana Gardner observed that there is "increasing recognition that a SOA/UDDI registry and a SOA metadata repository are not the same — and perhaps there's some advantage to having them tightly aligned for SOA policy management benefit."
BEA's value proposition is to offer both elements either together or separately, depending upon where the enterprise is at in the SOA process. BEA's vision in this space is to enable a developer to submit a service to repository, and have the correct definition of the service automatically published into a registry at runtime. Flashline offers the capability to push the services through to a registry. The repository environment is "a very natural place to go and start thinking about governance, and any kind of approval cycle, or any kind of validation that needs to be done before publication in a production type environment," according to Patrick.