Microsoft Stacks Up Its SOA Strategy: Q&A With Burley Kawasaki
At its annual Worldwide Partner Conference in Denver yesterday, Microsoft made
a few moves to broaden the appeal of its SOA strategy, including the introduction
of its SOA
& Business Process Pack
to be available in September.
The new bundle includes a handful of the company's bread-and-butter applications
and tools including BizTalk Server 2006, SQL Server 2005, Visual Studio Team
System and Office SharePoint Server 2007. Along with this bundle, the company
will also offer technical guidance to users, particularly those attempting their
first SOA implementation.
Microsoft also announced a new Branch Edition of BizTalk R2 that helps users
better integrate a variety of real-time business processes in branch offices
or geographically remote areas with those occurring at a company's headquarters
and/or in other remote locations.
I spoke with Burley Kawasaki, director of product management with Microsoft's
Connected Systems Division, about the announcements and what they mean to Microsoft's
How do these announcements move your SOA story forward?
In the past, we have talked about BizTalk Server R2 for supply chain scenarios
and we think that is still a pretty untapped area. So we are supporting vertical
market and supply chain standards like HIPPA, RosettaNet, Swift and HL7. Previously,
we offered these on a standalone purchase basis as accelerators. But in order
to remove some of the barriers to deploying these technologies, we are including
it as part of the core BizTalk Server engine in both the Standard and Enterprise
editions. This will help democratize the supply chain space, especially among
the tier 2 and 3 [supply chain] companies that do not have the same level of
IT resources as the larger suppliers.
What role will the Branch Edition of BizTalk Server play?
The Branch Edition SKU is targeted at intra-organizational deployments.
People are certainly investing in SOA for their back office systems. But what
is driving a lot of businesses is what is happening out at the edge -- whether
that is a branch, divisional unit or a warehouse -- where real-time processes
occur. Often, things that occur out there are out of synch with the core ERP
systems in terms of working with the same data and processes. This [product]
solves some of the last-mile problems to where you can now connect to real-time
events happening on the shop floor and connect them to the corporate hub.
So essentially, the Branch Edition creates new market opportunities not
available to you before.
That's right. This is pretty much white space. Today, you might accomplish this
through a custom one-off solution. It also represents new market opportunities
for our partners that are building solutions around this.
What is the thinking behind the SOA & Business Process Pack?
Well, we get a lot of questions from partners and users about what part
of the Microsoft stack they should use for SOA projects, how to use them together
and what the right scenarios are for doing a first [SOA] project. We are trying
to codify our experience and create an integrated licensing offering where you
can buy a single SKU and have all the software you need. But we are also including
along with this guidance patterns and practices and reference implementations
that show how to implement a first SOA project. We think this pack can be a
platform for building Office-based composite apps on top of a SOA infrastructure
including SharePoint, and use Visual Studio tools for modifying and building
Talk about your plans to embed BizTalk inside third-party applications.
If you are an ISV building, say, a financial application, you do not want
to have to build all the SOA-related infrastructure themselves, so we are giving
them an option to resell our technology as part of their solution. It can be
completely embedded in their applications so users wouldn't even see it. We
think in the SOA space, ISVs will increasingly look to buy rather than build
because it figures to be a basic part of their infrastructure.
Google Maps Gets Up Close and Personal
Hoping to make them more practical for everyday use, Google on Wednesday debuted
a set of capabilities for Google Maps that allow users to personalize maps
for a wide range of functions.
Called "My Maps," the new capability lets users draw on over 100
"mini-applications," created by third-party software developers, that
users can place on top of Google maps. As of 6:00 last night, a new tab is now
in place on http://maps.google.com that
has links to the applications, which the company refers to as "mapplets."
For instance, one application now lets users watch YouTube videos based on
where they're uploaded. Another application lets users link to well-known photographs
in locations anywhere in the world via Google Maps.
The new technology also lets users overlay multiple applications on top of
Google Maps in order to correlate geographic information. For example, someone
looking to buy a house in a particular neighborhood could overlay, or collect,
information on crime statistics in that neighborhood.
Google Tops SIIA's List of Biggest E-Commerce Developments
of the Decade
Commemorating the tenth anniversary of the White House eCommerce Framework (I'm
sure all of you have that date marked on your calendars), the Software &
Information Industry Association (SIIA) put out its
list of the top 10 developments that have registered the biggest impact
on electronic commerce.
Heading the list is Google for the fundamental way it changed how people use
Next was the broadband penetration of U.S.-based Internet users which reached
50 percent in mid-2004, signaling a change in how commerce was conducted online.
Third was eBay auctions, which demonstrated how the Internet could reach a
Fourth was Amazon.com for contributing to the popularity of online shopping.
Rounding out the top five was Google AdWords for becoming the predominant online
advertising vehicle, now generating some $6.8 billion in overall revenues.
The second half of the top 10 includes the general evolution of open standards,
starting with HTML 4.0 in 1997; the spread of Wi-Fi; the popularity of user-generated
content; the role iTunes has played in legitimizing the digital music industry;
and the popularity of the BlackBerry.
Do you think the SIIA left something off this list? Let me know at email@example.com.
Mailbag: Thoughts on Google and SaaS
purchase of e-mail security company Postini, Peter asked readers what they
thought of Google Apps and Software as a Service (SaaS). Christopher doesn't
think very highly of either:
You could perhaps pay me a large enough sum of money that I just might
CONSIDER using Gmail or Google applications. How is one supposed to take seriously
a company whose mission statement is "First, do no evil" and who
fails to heed it at the first major press (China). It is nothing more than
another greedy corporation which, despite certain attempts at being hip and
modern, again fails to be either. I do not trust my data to be stored on any
infrastructure other than my own. I am certainly disinclined to trust a corporation
that keeps track of my Web surfing habits which it can then use for targeted
advertising -- less of a service for free, more like a nuisance for free.
As for SaaS, I have argued since its inception that this is even worse
than the confidence trick that Software Assurance has become. Although Microsoft's
latest EULA leaves me in no doubt that the operating system is simply licensed
for use, the fact of the matter is that I can use it whenever I wish, wherever
I wish (provided that it is on the same hardware) for the rest of time. SaaS
means that I no longer have that right and, what is worse, will be locked
into an endless series of upgrades which I will be obliged to accept (or my
service will be suspended). When one cedes control of access to data to someone
else (however trustworthy), one may as well give them all the data and be
done with it. SaaS as a business model is incompatible with any other form
of licensing regime and will, if allowed, become the dominant income stream
of Microsoft and produce more disgruntled IT workers than any other innovation
which Microsoft has thrust upon an unsuspecting world. Should SaaS become
the Microsoft way, I for one will either stick with XP or go native with Ubuntu.
Got something to add? Let us have it; leave a comment below or e-mail Ed at
Ed Scannell is the editor of Redmond magazine.