Microsoft plans to enhance its existing middleware range and introduce new products in an effort to catch up in the service oriented architecture (SOA) space.
The company has bundled its SOA efforts under the Project Oslo banner, claiming that the initiative will allow firms to achieve the benefits of SOA without the associated complexity.
Microsoft plans to add SOA functionality to its forthcoming BizTalk Server 6 and add SOA support to .Net Framework 4.
Visual Studio .Net 10 will gain application life-cycle management features, and Microsoft said that is working to align metadata repositories across its middleware products.
Microsoft mentions components that are essential parts of any SOA. But analysts believe that the vendor is choosing to ignore the fundamental underpinnings of such an architecture by using closed standards and proprietary interfaces.
"The core Microsoft customer base will be excited, as it's a strong step forward for them. But enterprise architects with a heterogeneous architecture will wait until it's based on open standards."
SOAs allow applications to be built out of components or services. A currency conversion module or log-in functionality, for example, would be centrally maintained and developed, and used throughout the company, between companies or as a rented service from an outside provider.
Standards-based SOAs allow users to swap out components, buying a repository from BEA, for example, and using it with IBM's WebSphere web server and Software AG's security module.
Companies could also share services without the need for special translators or integration modules. Microsoft's SOA will not offer any of these benefits.
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