Intel Aims To Boost SOA With XML Solutions

Intel Corp. released a new software product suite that is designed to enhance the performance of XML in service-oriented architecture (SOA) environments, or other environments where XML handling needs optimization. Intel XML Software Suite 1.0, which was announced earlier this month, provides libraries to help accelerate XSLT, XPath, XML schemas and XML parsing.

XML performance was found to be twice that of open source solutions when Intel tested its product, according to Stephen Pettit, product marketing engineer for Intel's XML products. Intel isn't picking on open source per se in saying that, he noted.

"The reason we are saying 'open source' is there is no real industry benchmark standards for XML performance….It's a comparison," Pettit said.

Intel is widely known for its hardware chipsets, including the company's new dual-core processors. XML Software Suite works on any x86-based system, although Pettit added that users of the Intel XML Software Suite will "see even better performance over Intel architecture."

Using the product with dual-core technology is an advantage, Pettit added.

"If you do single core, you're not going to get the same kind of performance," he said. "[The XML Software Suite] takes advantage of the multithreading and can actually do parallel processing for things such as XSLT and take advantage of the multicore so that we can handle more than one task at a time."

The product also handles large files, about 1 gigabyte and larger for processing. It's compatible with XML standards, according to Pettit, with a 98 percent pass rate on W3C and OASIS Conformance Test Suites for XML products.

Intel is really hot on the SOA space, Pettit said, because it's becoming widely used. Instead of creating a hardware intermediate device that could get in the way of architecture environments, the company decided on a simple software library solution for XML optimization.

Pettit explained that XML needs to be optimized for SOA because the size of XML messaging can bog down performance in a loosely coupled environment.

"You really can't push data around in an SOA without involving XML," Pettit said. "We've realized that XML itself tends to be the bottleneck for this, because it's very textual based. We're addressing the performance issues at the XML layer, and this will overall help improve the SOA environment or any XML environment itself."

People using XML in an SOA environment may not realize there's a performance issue until the data use gets heavier, he added.

"XML is very high-level and text based," he said. "To process this text or these strings, it's a lot more CPU intensive [than] actually crunching direct numbers."

The suite is available as two solutions, one for Java environments using a Java API for XML Processing (JAXP) interface, which is the de facto Java standard. For C environments, Intel uses a solution that mimics the JAXP interface, Pettit said.

Developers using the Intel XML Software Suite will have to adapt the system to use the libraries, which involves some code rewriting. Pettit said that C++ developers "would have to write a minimum of six to 10 lines of code to interface with our APIs." He added that that's better than "than writing several hundred lines of code to try to get the performance and functionality" of Intel's libraries.

Intel began developing its XML libraries from scratch about two years ago, after acquiring the intellectual property of two companies, Sarvega and Conformative Systems. The product is now generally available and works with versions of Microsoft Windows servers and operating systems, as well as open source Red Hat server OSes and Novell's SuSE. It also supports runtime environments such as Sun's J2SE, BEA Rockit and IBM JDK Linux.

Product details on Intel XML Software Suite are available here.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is online news editor, Enterprise Group, at 1105 Media Inc.