Chasing Oslo: Details Still Emerging on Microsoft's SOA Strategy

Loraine Lawson

We're now nearly six months out from Microsoft's "unveiling" of Oslo -- the company's code name for its SOA strategy - and still, nobody really knows what it is.


It's not as if we haven't tried.


Awhile back, I even did an e-mail Q&A with Microsoft's Burley Kawasaki, director of Product Management in the Connected Systems Division, in an attempt to clarify what, exactly, Oslo entails. He answered my questions, but it was very much a strategic overview of Microsoft's "real-world" approach to SOA. I didn't get too many technology details, though I did learn that the first version of Oslo would be delivered through the next versions of Microsoft's application platform products, such as Visual Studio, System Center, BizTalk Server, BizTalk Services and the .NET Framework.


Then again, maybe I asked the wrong questions.


IT Business Edge colleague Ann All tried a different approach this month when she interviewed Robert Helm, director of research for Directions on Microsoft, an independent company that tracks Microsoft. Helm gave an analysis of Microsoft's strategy, particularly as it relates to Web services and software-as-a-service.


In Redmond Magazine, veteran Microsoft writer Mary Jo Foley sums up what she's heard about Oslo's technology components.


She doesn't source all of the information, but my guess is that this is more than mere rumor mill fodder. After all, she's covered Microsoft for nearly 20 years and is a ZDNet blog editor.


Foley reports that Oslo is a distributed application server. As such, it will be a critical component of Microsoft's cloud-computing backbone, she writes, adding that SOA will be the "'integration architecture' that holds the Software + Services world together."


Part of Microsoft's strategy will involve a new programming language, currently code-named "D," which will be based on Microsoft's eXtensible Application Markup Language (XAML), she writes.


There are a few other tidbits, but I was particularly intrigued by Microsoft's Internet Service Bus, which will be like an enterprise service bus, but bigger and better, apparently. ESBs often play prominent roles in SOA, so it's not surprising that the Internet Service Bus is expected to be "at the heart of Oslo," according to Foley. It's expected to include new messaging features, event publication and the ability to link subscription services to .NET services, she reports.


I guess we'll just have to stay tuned. On a related note, this Australian IT article looks at what Gartner says the customer resource management tools from Microsoft, SAP and Oracle reveal about the companies' SOA strategies. It's a bit shy on detail, but basically says SAP is offering SOA leadership, but is overly complicated; Microsoft needs a bit more work; and Oracle's SOA plans still seem a bit fuzzy.

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