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SOA meets Cloud Computing at Microsoft PDC

For Microsoft there seemed to be a somewhat humbler tone at its Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles this past week. Even the biggest new SOA modeling and Cloud Computing initiatives were described as “nascent” works in progress and subject to change.
SOA Talk last covered PDC 2003 in Los Angeles when the big news was the announcement with much hoopla that Vista was coming soon and if memory serves no one said it was nascent. Who knew Vista would become a punch line in Apple TV commercials?

At PDC 2008, Windows 7 was unveiled as the new workman-like operating system. No more high-concept marketing titles for this version, just the humble if lucky number 7. It’s slogan: “A solid foundation for new possibilities.” In the political parlance de jour it might be known as Windows the Operating System.

The biggest news at this year’s Microsoft show was the announcement of a product that does have a Vista-style name, Windows Azure, the new Cloud Computing platform programmable in the RESTful-style. In a PowerPoint-free keynote on Tuesday, Microsoft Distinguished Engineer Don Box demonstrated coding for the Cloud platform using one API and unlimited URIs that had the developer audience cheering the simple elegance.

Whenever, one of Box’s demos failed, he harkened back to Ray Ozzie’s caveat about all the new technology being nascent.

Architects and others interested in building applications using the service-oriented approach got a better idea of what the Oslo modeling tools were all about. Box was also busy demonstrating the new “M” modeling language that is part of this offering.

Oslo is refined and better defined now, according to David Chappell, principal of Chappell & Associates, who has written a paper, Workflows, Services, and Models, published by Microsoft covering the new technologies.

“Initially, Oslo referred to a lot of different things,” Chappell told SearchSOA. “Now, Oslo refers to modeling technologies and the repository. So just in terms of clarity, that’s progress.”

In its current iteration Oslo includes “a repository, providing a common place to store a range of information about your IT environment,” the M language for describing that information, and a modeling tool, codenamed Visual Studio “Quadrant,” for working with repository information, Chappell explained.

But no Microsoft show would be complete without some controversy, so we have the interesting positioning of Windows Azure as a “fifth generation of computing” and perhaps the replacement killer app for SOA. This Cloud versus SOA debate is comparing apples and oranges, according to analysts SearchSOA talked to for an article on the nascent controversy, Is Microsoft dissing SOA just to push Azure Cloud computing?

Just asking.

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