Technology Thoughts

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

About the SCA and SDO

During some months now, many software vendors lead by IBM have been involved in the SCA initiative (well it is actually Open SOA, whose two main pillars are SCA - Service Component Architecture and SDO - Service Data Objects).

As far as I understand it, the intention of SCA is to create a standard environment (APIs, models, containers) in which services of a SOA can run and interoperate, no matter which implementation or platform they have, or even which type of components they use, since it aims to integrate Java objects, EJBs, C++, or whatever. This is, it is sort of a standard, vendor-neutral middleware for creating services; the specification of a SOA platform which every vendor can then implement.

For its part, SDO aims to create a standard way for service implementations to access any kind of data, from RDMBS to XDBMS through web services.

So all in all to me it seems much like J2EE: allow both to create distributed components and access data. Of course, not limited to Java or even to a single networking protocol, but for every platform.

When I first saw the creation of the initiative I thought that this was just a rebranding of proprietary IBM technologies (things called SCA and SDO had been available at IBM for some time before that). Well it seems something like that, only that hopefully it will be truly open. Although I can guess that IBM, being the inventor, will have much advantage in its implementations on the rest of the consortium. But who knows.

At any rate, I still do not see the point of SCA. For me, the platform that allows for interoperability of every kind of software component in any implementation or platform is web services. SCA should allow to have interoperable services other than web services, but I think that WS-* is enough and that there is no need of any more.

But we will see, since the success of these initiatives rely on the end upon who supports them (e.g. it does not matter you like CORBA more than SOAP, since SOAP is supported by every vendor), and Open SOA has an impressive list of them (BEA, Oracle, TIBCO, Sun and several others). However, they happen to be only Java vendors: Microsoft is not there. And if SCA will not properly supported in Microsoft platforms, it means that it will not be interoperable enough, as WS-* is.

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