Introducing The Open SOA Collaboration

The Open Service Oriented Architecture (OSOA) Collaboration has recently launched a Web site where they self-describe as:

… an informal alliance of industry leaders that share a common interest: defining a language-neutral programming model that meets the needs of enterprise developers who are developing software that exploits Service Oriented Architecture characteristics and benefits. The Collaboration is not a Standards Body; it is an alliance who wish to innovate rapidly in the development of this programming model and to deliver Specifications to the community for implementation. These specifications are made available to the community on a Royalty Free basis for the creation of compatible implementations. When mature, the intent is to hand these specifications over to a suitable Standards Body for future shepherding.

This is an interesting addition to the standards ecosystem for at least a few reasons:

  • The emphasis on rapid innovation and results – Stereotypically, standards efforts move at glacial rates of progress. Open Source and commercial software developers often need to innovate swiftly. In the absence of existing standards, developers do what’s necessary to make progress. This may result in the short-term gain of implemented software. However, overall benefit to all stakeholders may in fact take longer to be realized by highly fragmented efforts.
  • The royalty-free nature of resulting specifications – Clearly a must-have for any degree of traction, such statements need to be fully appreciated from an Intellectual Property perspective. Such clauses, and indeed the collaboration as whole, make it challenging for software developers to differentiate their offerings.
  • The membership is already impressive – To quote from GRIDtoday “… BEA Systems, IBM, IONA, Oracle, SAP AG, Sybase, Xcalia and Zend have been joined by Cape Clear, Interface21, Primeton Technologies, Progress Software (formerly Sonic Software), Red Hat, Rogue Wave Software, Software AG, Sun Microsystems and TIBCO Software. With the new partners on board, the group of 17 organizations spans SOA and applications companies to infrastructure and open source providers.”
  • There are impressive technical outcomes already – These outcomes relate to the organization’s focus on Service Component Architecture (SCA) and Service Data Objects (SDO). (Given my interest in DFDL, I’m interested in following the ongoing development of SDO.)

Although I haven’t verified this yet, I expect that Grid Computing has helped to influence this activity. (For example, I recognize the name of at least one participant who was very active in the Global Grid Forum, GGF.) Ironically, influencer is a role that Grid Computing continues to play all too well.

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