OASIS seeks accord on software installation

IBM, Sun among those aboard on XML-based effort

OASIS plans to develop a specification for a standardized method of expressing software installation characteristics, OASIS said this week.

XML schemas will be devised to provide a standard way to describe resources and system dependencies pertaining to installing software on multiple platforms, according to OASIS. The organization has formed the OASIS Solution Deployment Descriptor Technical Committee to tackle the issue. Members include representatives from companies such as Computer Associates, Fujitsu, IBM, Novell, and Sun Microsystems.

With its effort, OASIS is looking to address issues that arise when resource and product dependencies are described during the software development process, according to Catherine Pleil, who is the convener of the OASIS technical committee and program director for Autonomic Computing at IBM. Dependencies are described in different ways, thus requiring manual intervention when deploying to heterogeneous environments, she said. The whole process has been prone to error.

“The idea of [the OASIS proposal] is to describe these dependencies in a standardized way across the industry,” Pleil said.

OASIS plans to cover aspects such as software installation, configuration, rollbacks, and updates. IBM’s Autonomic Computing group has submitted its own Solution Installation specification as a starting point for OASIS to consider.

Potential values of the OASIS effort include enabling automation of deployment, increasing motivation for lifecycle automation, and reducing manual effort, said David Sprott, principal analyst and CEO at CBDI Forum, in an e-mail response to questions.

“There is a lot of pressure to reduce response time to change,” Sprott said. Current environments all use platform-specific formats and software deployment is resource-intensive, he said.

The OASIS technical committee plans to hold its first meeting on June 1 and deliver a specification in one year.

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