While the idea of Microsoft giving a keynote address at JavaOne – the Java community’s biggest conference of the year – has probably raised a few eyebrows, it really shouldn’t come as that big of a surprise at this point. Not only have we been involved in JavaOne for the past few years, you’ve also heard me talk many, many times about the importance of interoperability: most recently in the context of cloud computing and often as it relates to Web services. The latter has been a heavy focus for my team – and Microsoft in general – for a number of years. In fact, sometimes folks are caught off guard at just how active Microsoft has been in driving better interoperability via Web services and through our work with W3C, WS-I, WS-*, OASIS (e.g., the recent announcement regarding WS-RX, WS-TX and WS-SX), DMTF and more.
As we look at our latest research numbers, we see that 73% of professional developers rely on .NET or a combination of .NET and Java. In that sense, both Java and .NET have won in the enterprise and it is incumbent on both Microsoft and Sun to ensure that interoperability for the platforms is real, available and as easy to implement as possible. It’s a responsibility that we both share and customers tell us loud and clear that they expect innovation to accompany interoperability. I’m proud to say that this is something we take seriously and are executing against.
Along these lines, some of you may recall that last November we announced our participation – and the contribution of our StockTrader 2.0 code – to the Apache “Stonehenge” project. Stonehenge was formed to deliver a set of sample applications that demonstrate interoperability across multiple underlying platform technologies by using currently defined W3C and OASIS standard protocols. This is helpful for a number of reasons. While industry efforts like WS-* define approaches to enable interoperability, products may still need to be configured by customers before the benefits of interoperability can be realized. In fact, we’ve had a number of customers tell us they need better examples and more guidance on how to realize the built-in interoperability of applications across multiple vendor platforms. Stonehenge addresses this by providing customers with best practice guidelines and actual code that illustrates precisely how to achieve this in real world scenarios. To put it a little more poetically, Stonehenge will help us complete the “last mile” of interoperability between today’s standards-based infrastructure and tomorrow’s service-based applications.
So what exactly does this have to do with Microsoft – and specifically me and Dan’l Lewin – keynoting at JavaOne? A great deal actually, since during our keynote, Sun Vice President Aisling MacRunnels, Dan’l and I will announce that Sun has also now agreed to participate in the Stonehenge project and will be contributing the Metro-based StockTrader application code. This is important for two reasons. First, it means that Stonehenge will deliver even more value by providing best practice guidelines and reference implementations across an even broader range of scenarios and platforms, including Java, .NET, PHP, etc. The more samples and real world guidance we can give the community the better since it gives customers the ability to choose the best ones for their specific business requirements. It also makes it easier to pinpoint potential interoperability problems.
In addition, it represents another step forward in our ongoing work with Sun. As we all know, today’s IT environments are heterogeneous; whether it’s a single organization that runs both.NET and Java apps or multiple organizations that seek to collaborate with each other. To that end, we’ve been working closely with Sun on a number of interoperability initiatives over the past five years to help customers leverage their existing investments in Sun and Microsoft technologies. Some of the best examples include our work on Web Single Sign On, the Interop Vendor Alliance, our collaboration on virtualization and, of course, our recent agreement to use the SAML federation standard in both the Sun OpenSSO Enterprise federation solution and the forthcoming Microsoft “Geneva” Server federation solution.
Looking ahead, our work with Sun (or perhaps I should say Oracle?) becomes even more important in the context of cloud computing. Success in the cloud for most enterprises will hinge on the ability to utilize a broad and diverse set of computational resources, some of which may be implemented very differently from others. Interoperability protocols are the key to this. Thus, it’s important for us to continue to work together to ensure platform interoperability through these protocols, especially as it relates to Web service interoperability standards. The work that we are announcing today with Sun around Stonehenge is a great step in the right direction since it helps demonstrate seamless interoperability across application platforms – whether those applications are implemented on premises and in the cloud – and whether those applications are implemented on J2, on .NET or on something else.
With that in mind, I’d encourage everyone to take a look at the Stonehenge project and download the StockTrader sample app on one of the many supported platforms such as .NET, Java, PHP, WSAS, Sun Metro, etc. If you are interested, you can also read more about what Microsoft is doing around interoperability in general or watch Dan’l’s and my full JavaOne keynote. The keynote focuses specifically on the work we are doing with Sun to deliver interoperable application platforms that span on-premises and cloud computing, and help our customers leverage their Java and .NET investments.