Can you talk futures without dates? The Microsoft Application Platform team is out to prove that it can be done.
At this week's Microsoft's 2007 Service Oriented Architecture and Business Process Management (SOA and BPM) conference in Redmond, Wash., company officials will lay out a long-awaited roadmap for Microsoft's SOA strategy. But noticeably absent will be target due dates for any of the myriad products that company officials plan to discuss.
Microsoft is promising a number of new "technology investments" that it has code-named "Oslo" that will cut across its product stack and provide the foundation for its SOA platform. Among them:
- BizTalk Server 6: The core foundation product for Microsoft SOA and BMP solutions that will "deliver the capability to develop, manage and deploy composite applications."
- BizTalk Services 1: The services add-on to BizTalk that will enable "hosted composite applications that cross organization boundaries" and provides messaging, identity and workflow capabilities, to start.
- .Net Framework 4: Th enext version of Microsoft's core set of Windows services that will more tightly bind Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) and Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) to "further enable model-driven development.
- Visual Studio 10: The next version of Microsoft's tool suite that will include new, unspecified tools aimed at advancing model-driven development.
- System Center 5: The next version of Microsoft's system-management product family.
Microsoft also is committing to "aligning the metadata repositories" across all of the aforementioned products. In addition, BizTalk Server 6 will "utilize a repository technology for managing, versioning and deploying models."
When are any of these products slated to hit? No word. But to put things in perspective, BizTalk Server 2006 R2 just shipped in September and .Net Framework 3.5 isn't slated to be generally available until late this year/early next. That means most of the aforementioned releases are probably a couple of years away, at best. The Directions on Microsoft research firm is telling clients to expect Microsoft to start rolling out these next-gen updates in 2009 and later.
Update: At the SOA conference on October 30, Microsoft officials said the company would have some Community Technology Preview (CTP) pre-beta releases of its various Oslo-enabled products out in 2008. Again, no word on which ones or when the final releases of any of the aforementioned deliverables are expected.
Microsoft has been struggling to prove to the market that it has a real SOA strategy. While the Redmondians are talking the right talk, the company is still a ways away from walking the SOA walk. Will customers wait or run off with other SOA vendors before Microsoft rolls out more than just a piecemeal SOA strategy?