Registry + Repository = SOA Platform
- By John K. Waters
There's a deafening buzz in service-oriented architecture around repositories,
which appear to be emerging as a core component of SOA. What is actually emerging,
says Miko Matsumura, is an integrated registry-repository model, which could
serve as the core technology of what amounts to an SOA platform.
“Up to now, SOA has mostly been about point-to-point Web services integration,”
Matsumura tells SOATrends. “If you’re connecting one point
to another point, there’s no need for any kind of platform. It’s
really just a cat’s-cradle kind of series of connections between everything
and everything else. But people are starting to get interested in connecting
things in a way that creates direction, coherence or intention.”
Matsumura is the former vice president of product marketing at Systinet, co-creator
of The Middleware Company's SOA Blueprints (the first complete, vendor-neutral
specification of an SOA application set), and the original Java evangelist at
He recently signed on as VP of marketing at Infravio, a provider of SOA Web
services management products, where he is expected to advance his Intentional
Intentional SOA is about ensuring the business value of SOA, using best practices
and principles, Matsumura explains. It raises key questions to help SOA builders
stay on course during design and implementation. Intentional SOA moves beyond
ad hoc Web services enablement, mandating a strategic, enterprise-wide view
that directly addresses the gamut of business, technology, security and governance
concerns posed by SOA.
Matsumura says the roles of registry and repository are sometimes confusing.
That confusion, he says, is understandable.
"People like to say that registries hold metadata and repositories hold
data," he says. "That's a handy explanation, I suppose, but it really
taxes the semantics. Data and metadata are determined by relationship; one person's
data is another person's metadata."
A simpler and clearer definition, he suggests, is "registries hold references
to things, and repositories hold the things."
It is this inherent "permeability of the data-metadata boundary"
that will lead, as the market matures, to more integrated registry-repository
solutions, he says.
Matsumura credits analyst group Zapthink with originating the SOA platform
concept. During one of their recent Webcast seminars, "End-to-End Metadata
Management: Registries, Repositories, and Governance," Zapthink analysts
Jason Bloomberg and Ron Schmelzer identified the metadata registry-repository
as "a key to making loosely coupled SOAs work and to providing the necessary
infrastructure for SOA governance." (Matsumura served as a guest expert
for the event.)
Whether the two technologies actually come together to form an SOA platform
or not, Gartner analyst Yefim Natis also believes that an integrated registry-repository
is a key SOA enabler. “It is safe to say that no long-term enterprise
SOA initiative can succeed without an integrated and searchable registry-repository,”
And vendors are getting on board with the reg-rep integration strategy, though
few are calling their offerings SOA platforms. Sun Microsystems's new Sun Service
Registry includes an integrated repository for storing service metadata, and
providing additional capabilities such as Web services lifecycle management.
Systinet’s new Blizzard platform extends the capabilities of Systinet
Registry to include a unified registry and repository. And Matsumura's company
Infravio’s X-Registry is designed to provide a single point of access
for information about all Web services in an enterprise.
Infravio has supported an integrated registry-repository model since its X-Registry
was first released, Matsumura says. The X-Registry platform uses the Java API
for XML Registries, which is the Java programmatic API for developing applications
on top of standard Registries including UDDI and the ebXML Registry Information
Matsumura sees support for the platform idea in work under way at the OASIS
standards group, which is developing a registry information model that integrates
the registry and repository within ebXML. Matsumura is developing a technical
committee at OASIS to create a mechanism for standardizing the SOA Blueprint.
The current Web services registry standard is Universal Description, Discovery
and Integration, but the repository field is still wide open. "UDDI is
pretty core," Matsumura says. "It’s mostly about discovery,
and it leaves a lot of room for interpretation on the repository side. That’s
where the frontier is."
John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached