Soa and Modeling, a Lot of Fud (fear, Uncertainty and Doubt)

By: Max J. Pucher

In the following article I would like to point out the difference between Microsoft's "vision announcement strategy" and the real-world product availability.

In 2003 Bill Gates publicly said that Microsoft saw modeling as a focus for Microsoft developer products. Recently - four years later - Microsoft has renewed its modeling vision as part of an SOA (service-oriented architecture) and Business Process strategy codenamed 'Oslo'.

Microsoft has at best made little progress in modeling as part of its development tools but full modeling will take until Visual Studio 10 and supposedly will include the .Net Framework, BizTalk-, Team Foundation-, and SQL Servers.

According to Steven Martin, director of product management, Microsoft will TRY to unify its model-driven development tools, WCF (Windows Communication Foundation) and WF (Windows Workflow Foundation).

Donald Ferguson, the gentleman who invented IBM's vapor ware concept of renaming everything to WebSphere recently joined Microsoft and announced that model-driven development would play a key role in Microsoft's SAAS (software-as-a-service) offerings in a cloud computing scenario. Given that 'WebSphere' is no more than a cloud, that makes a lot of sense and tells us what we can expect from Microsoft. A lot of smoke and mirrors, renamed products, great visions and strategies and a lot of FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt). Ferguson admits already now that he sees completely executable business models as not achievable. He believes that only the first version of an application can be done by modeling because he still believes that models will be translated to programming languages. There is no FULL ROUNDTRIP development in his mind so we will not see something radically new from him or Microsoft.

Microsoft at least clearly says that the future is in modeling and not in coding and that it has to be focused around a repository. Which is EXACTLY what the is delivering today. Not a vision and not a strategy but a tightly integrated model-to-production application management platform.

Microsoft only plans to make SOA more accessible and useful to customers by adding SOA features and capabilities to its server, services, framework, tools and repository products to arrive at the 'Oslo' vision.

At the UNKNOWN AVAILABILITY of Visual Studio 10 Microsoft says that it will enable end-to-end application life-cycle management through NEW TOOLS for model-driven design of distributed applications using unified meta-data repositories. Various upcoming (no dates given!) versions of BizTalk (for BPM and SOA) and System Center (for versioning and deployment) will eventually utilize even a common repository.

Not only I am skeptical. Many analysts hail the Microsoft approach but call it non-standard and proprietary. I would not mind to be called proprietary if at least some analysts that I am trying to woo into looking at a REALLY INNOVATIVE products such as would at least look!
I am not worried about Microsoft's potential future products being proprietary, but I know that all this smoke is just that, lulling everyone into waiting and away from truly new stuff.

You must be aware that all this will mean that it WILL BE TOTALLY INCOMPATIBLE in products and functionality to what you do today. Using the same product names Microsoft - as do most other large software vendors - will try to make you believe otherwise.

Everything that Microsoft announces as a radical new strategy we at ISIS Papyrus Software have been delivering to customers for a number of years now.

And then we run into analysts that claim that all the innovation we deliver fails the market as no one needs it.

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