Exclusive: Infravio brings structure to unwieldy SOA
X-Registry 5 equips users with an impressive level of control
Although you could use e-mail, wikis, and spreadsheets to govern SOA, such tools leave much of the accountability and control necessary for good governance up to manual processes. Automating those governance tasks requires repositories custom-built to the task, such as Infravio's X-Registry 5. Without governance, many of the benefits of SOA will be lost.
X-Registry performs yeoman service as a registry and gets high marks for being tailored to tasks of SOA governance. The interface is quick and responsive. More importantly, the product shows the maturity one would expect in a UDDI-compliant registry that's been through several iterations.
X-Registry stands out in its use of contracts to codify the run-time relationship between the service provider and consumer. Contracts are policies that govern relationship parameters that live in a business context. The UI allows business-line users to manage these parameters and thus govern the usage of services for their business. These capabilities will prove crucial to organizations that want to do more than play around with Web services.
I set about testing X-Registry 5 by installing it on an HP ProLiant server, with 1GB of RAM, running Windows XP SP2. Past experience with Infravio products led me to expect a painless installation, and I wasn't disappointed. A handy product configuration verification utility checked that the installation and configuration were correct and took care of some pesky details such as setting up endorsed directories for Tomcat.
If you're familiar with UDDI, you expect a registry to have ways to create and manage tModels (technical models), taxonomies, and categories. What might surprise you is X-Registry's emphasis on identity and roles. A large proportion of the 170-plus-page user guide is given over to issues of organizations, roles, and users. Because X-Registry is designed to automate governance tasks, identity information is central to how it works.
Users in a provider role publish services and manage metadata associated with those services. Publishing a service is as easy as entering the URL of the WSDL document in a Web form, entering some descriptive text, and hitting Submit.
Service metadata includes schemas, sample client code, documentation, certificates, and other artifacts that are necessary to use the service. X-Registry also supports structured metadata in the form of name-value pairs, called attributes. X-Registry has a standard set of attributes, but users can also add custom attributes. Custom attribute values are typed to enhance structured queries.
After the service has been published successfully, the user has the option of viewing a WS-I basic profile compliance report. When I added a service with a slightly malformed WSDL document, the compliance checker produced a null pointer exception, but the system kept going.
As consumers, users can browse or search for services. Browsing can be done by organization, taxonomy, or service category. Searching can take advantage of attributes associated with services.