IBM sprinkles 'holy water' on SOA governance concept

The registry and respository market emerges from the SOA soup.

A few years back, I spoke to the CEO of a small vendor that was competing directly with IBM with a client/server interface product. I asked him if he was worried about having the computer giant eat his lunch, to which he replied, no.  This wasn't just marketing bravado; the CEO pointed out that when IBM issues its own brand of a product, it has the effect of "sprinkling holy water on a technology." That vendor would no longer have to commit as much time and effort educating the market about the worthiness of the technology, since Big Blue's marketing and education machine would be doing that.  

Such is the case with SOA governance, which IBM apparently is ready to engage in a big way. While governance is the hot buzzword in SOA circles these days, no governance strategy is complete -- or possible -- without a registry or repository.

Today at its PartnerWorld conference, IBM announced an online "SOA Business Central" set of online services that will eventually include IBM's upcoming WebSphere Service Registry and Repository for SOA Governance.

I had the chance to speak with Sandy Carter, vice president of WebSphere and SOA for the IBM Software Group, about the initiative. She agrees that the WebSphere Service Registry and Repository -- which is not generally available yet -- "is one of the hottest things we've got. This is the place for reuse." She noted that the registry/repository will interoperate with other registries/repositories, and, of course, other IBM environments. "It federates across UDDI, across configuration management databases, and other registries such as those in Rational."

So, look for IBM to jump into the emerging registry and repository market real soon.

And what an emerging market it is. Another new announcement from SOA Software acknowledges that registries and repositories are distinct environments that need to be handled by specialized and targeted solutions. SOA Software is issuing what it calls "the industry's first registry independent SOA infrastructure product suite," relying on interfaces to specialized providers -- Flashline, Infravio, LogicLibrary and Systinet -- to address governance requirements.

Miko Matsumura, VP of technology standards for Infravio, and chair of the OASIS SOA Adoption Blueprints Technical Committee, said its high time registry and repository became a differentiated and distinct product area, rather than commoditized pieces of software bolted onto any and all solutions. "It's the darnedest thing -- any piece of software that maintains state has something that you can point at and say, 'THAT'S the repository," he said. "Vendors discovered that they could make it sell faster by calling it an 'SOA repository.' This leaves a number of divergent solutions which all have the same name."

"I think it's increasingly clear to everyone now that SOA Registry Repository is an essential part of an SOA solution," Miko added.

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