Wednesday, October 26, 2005

SOA Boot Camp: Day 13

After two days of rest we returned to boot camp in Austin where Luc Clement and Chuck D'Antonio of Systinet arrived to update us on the status of Systinet's Blizzard Platform. Many boot camp participants have pointed to Systinet as playing a crucial role in SOA governance. Their Governance Interoperability Framework (GIF) has gained traction among several of our key partners so we were eager to hear more details from the source. Clearly the company has an aggressive set of capabilities they are looking to build out and we were able to drill down on their current and upcoming products.

Luc started out by building the case for SOA governance. We have been discussing this daily but Luc has been probing multiple customers and developing an excellent list of challenges being faced in the field and Systinet's roadmap to solving them. The focus this year is around policy management but provisioning challenges are going to be addressed soon.

There have been many controversies around the UDDI spec and it was excellent to hear Luc's point of view about how the spec developed (including Bill Gates' role) and what parts should be ignored. Systinet dominates the UDDI compliant registry space, but where the registry maintains references only, there is a need to manage the metadata that is an essential component of a contemporary SOA. Luc helped clarify what the Systinet repository product will and will not do and how they avoid creating overlap with other repositories.

Luc also gave us a look at Contract Manager. This product pushes SOA metadata to a necessary further step that involves tracking service consumers rather than just the producers. Solving many the lifecycle management challenges SOA presents is going to require this additional knowledge in the infrastructure.

Chuck led a drill down into the Registry product including the process Systinet is using with their customers to bring a registry up. While some people cringe when the subject of UDDI tModels comes up, obviously Systinet knows this stuff cold and Chuck helped the team get a solid grounding and understanding of some of the finer points. When deploying Registry, Systinet leads their clients through a workshop process and Chuck helped us see inside how Systinet is approaching the design decisions involved in creating initial taxonomies and how we could add value to the process.

As night fell Chuck took the team through a deep dive into Policy Manager. Policy permeates an SOA and we have had heated discussions about where it should be created, stored, and managed. We were pleased to hear the degree to which those designing the product are engaged with its earliest adopters. We'll be working with the product in our lab to help guide their efforts as well.

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