Vendors release open-source code for WS-Reliability implementation

Three IT industry heavyweights, Fujitsu Limited, Hitachi, and NEC Corp., are releasing Reliable Messaging for Grid Services (RM4GS), an open-source implementation of the Web Services Reliability (WS-Reliability) standard. The code, which was made available via download to developers this past week is being released under the Japan 'Businessgrid' License, which permits embedding in other applications.

Designed to ensure the reliable exchange of Web services messaging, RM4GS is compatible with version 1.1 of WS-Reliability, which was ratified earlier this month as an OASIS standard. Basically, RM4GS implements WS-Reliability, allowing Web services to communicate without the risk of losing data. The standard encompasses the facilities a reliable messaging service should provide, as well as the protocol used.

According to OASIS, WS-Reliability 1.1 supports 'guaranteed delivery.' In other words, it ensures that a message is delivered at least once. It also eliminates duplication, certifying that a message was delivered just once. And it provides message delivery ordering, which guarantees that messages in a sequence are delivered in the order sent, according to OASIS.

Tom Rutt, chair of the OASIS Web Services Reliable Messaging (WSRM) Technical Committee, cites financial transactions as an example of the types of applications that need WS-Reliability to meet current quality-of-service standards. 'A message requesting a money withdrawal, for instance, must be received by an application once and only once,' Rutt explains. 'With [WS-Reliability], information can be shared between software programs over the Internet as reliably as within a single application on a laptop.'

The three Japanese companies were among a group of vendors that developed the initial draft of WS-Reliability. OASIS formally adopted it as an official standard on Nov. 15. As members of the Business Grid Computing Project, Fujitsu, Hitachi, and NEC have been working together since July of last year. That work, which is supported by the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry, led to the development of RM4GS.

The WS-Reliability standard also has supporters in the U.S., including Sun Microsystems, Oracle, and Sonic Software. It also has a competitor, an alternative standard, called WS-ReliableMessaging. That standard has the support of a group of companies that includes IBM, Microsoft, and BEA Systems.

Releasing RM4GS as open source will help to 'speed the widespread adoption of software products that incorporate this reliable messaging function, thereby making it possible for customers to develop highly reliable Web services systems in shorter time frames and at lower cost,' the companies said in a joint statement.

The Java source code for Reliable Messaging for Grid Services (RM4GS) is now available for free download from the Web site of Japan's Information-Technology Promotion Agency at

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at [email protected].