Friday, February 25, 2005


Dozens of bloggers have discussed the use of the LAMP stack as a foundation for SOA and service oriented construction. However, the "P" in LAMP traditionally meant using one of several dynamic languages like Perl, Python or PHP. Today, IBM announced their blessing of PHP and is announcing that it will become more Web service friendly. This may be the first of several steps to redefine their core programming strategy, see:

Clearly, IBM has to be very careful about what they are doing here. The last thing they want is to introduce confusion around their core Java based WebSphere products. However, IBM has excellent disciplines around milking mature products and introducing stars without prematurely killing their cash cow. It will be interesting to watch them slowly commercialize this area. They'll want to be perceived as a leader in the space (by geeks) while simultaneously disavowing the concept to CIO's until the calculus tells them that there is more profit in slaughtering the cow and having the feast - - but this is clearly no time soon.

That said we have a conundrum. Generally speaking, the "open source types" prefer simple mechanisms over complex ones. In the Web services world this means that they like "REST" not "WS-*". Now, IBM has a different view - - they fundamentally understand the value proposition of decoupling functions from their non-functional concerns. IBM realizes that mission critical systems require policy based agreement to the ilities. More importantly, they understand that the compose-ability of services increases with the ubiquitous commoditization of the non-functional concerns... and you're average open-sourcer, well, doesn't even know what that means.

IMHO, we can expect to see IBM fund the research, technology, engineering and marketing around the WS-LAMP space. This might be look like an open source play, but long term, this is an enterprise move.

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