Microsoft plans on Tuesday to unveil what could be an industry-changing effort in application modeling and SOA with its "Oslo" project, which could significantly change the equation in the Windows application deployment space.
Part of Oslo involves delivering a unified platform integrating services and modeling, Microsoft said. But instead of models describing the application, models are the applications themselves.
Oslo is a codename for a set of technical investments that will be delivered in the next major versions of Microsoft's platform products, said Steven Martin, director of product management in the company's Connected Systems division. These products include Visual Studio, System Center, BizTalk Server, BizTalk Services, and the .Net Framework. Beta releases of Oslo technology are due in 2008.
"Oslo is a set of technologies that we think will help take model-driven design mainstream," Martin said.
With Oslo, Microsoft is making investments aligned with a vision to simplify the effort needed to build, deploy, and manage composite applications within and across organizations. The effort builds on model-driven and service-enabled principles and extends SOA beyond the firewall.
Release dates of Oslo-driven products have not been set. "This will make existing products we have better. Oslo doesn't have any new products. It's being injected into existing projects," Martin said.
The products include:
* Microsoft .Net Framework "4," which will further enable model-driven development within the Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) Web services platform and Windows Workflow Foundation (WWF).
* Visual Studio "10," to follow the upcoming Visual 2008 package. Version 10 focuses on application lifecycle management with tools for model-driven design of distributed applications.
* BizTalk Server "6," which will continue to offer technology for distributed SOA and BPM and include capabilities for composite applications.
* BizTalk Services "1," which provides BizTalk capabilities within the cloud, will feature Web-based services for hosting composite applications that cross organizational boundaries. Advanced messaging, identity, and workflow will be featured.
* Metadata repositories will be aligned across server and tools products, including System Center "5," Visual Studio "10," and BizTalk Server "6." Each will utilize repository technology for managing, versioning, and deployment models.
"System Center will be able to grab an application from the repository and deploy it easily without any intermediate steps," said Martin. Also, Microsoft anticipates that WCF and WWF will collapse into a single technology, he said.
Analysts at Gartner called Oslo "ambitious."
"It's pretty ambitious, and as a matter of fact, I believe we're not going to see anything concrete until well into 2008 and possibly 2009," said analyst Massimo Pezzini, vice president of the application platform strategies group at Gartner.
Featured in Oslo are three fundamental components: a modeling environment, a business process server, including a significant evolution of BizTalk Server, and a new deployment model, Pezzini said.
Oslo makes sense on paper, he said. "So far, there are only ideas and plans and prototypes, etc., so we have to see," said Pezzini.