Blog Posts from April 2007 (page 1 of 4)

Morning Coffee 71

  • It’s been almost four months since I started these morning coffee posts. I like the regularity – there’s been 84 weekdays so far this year, so 84 – (71 + 6 days missed from vacation) = only seven missed morning coffees. On the other hand, I think my daily blogging fix is keeping me from digging deeper into some issues. So I’m going to start cutting back to only three morning coffee posts per week, with the hope of three deeper technical posts and one wildcard post per week.
  • Speaking of cutting back, my parents are in town this weekend so I doubt I’ll get a post out tomorrow or Monday. Have a good weekend anyway.
  • Windows Server “Longhorn” Beta 3 is out. Now is time to start getting serious with it.
  • Joe McKendrick is reporting that Gartner has given the green light to spending more on SOA. Maybe it’s because I work for a technology savvy company, but I’ve never understood outsourcing critical business decisions about technology adoption to a consulting company.
  • It’s a Joe McKendrick twofer: He also reports that IBM is calling for a new SOA directory / discovery / registry standard to replace UDDI. I totally get the need a “new UDDI”, though I’d wager that my issues with UDDI are very different than Big Blue’s.
  • Yesterday, I made a crack about how un-scalable the Internet would be if every cFonnection went thru a central hub. Two days ago, Clemens has a long post about the implications of an Internet Service Bus. First, I can’t wait to see how that thing works. Second, it’s fairly obvious that not all traffic will go thru this bus (since the bus ain’t out yet and yet you’re still reading this via the Internets), so maybe that answers my question about ESB’s and centralization? That is to day, use the bus where you it’s useful, otherwise don’t bother?

Enterprise Service Bus? Give Me an Extra Special Bitter Instead

I went to a talk on BizTalk and ESB at lunch today that was sponsored by the local connected systems user group. Like many terms in this space (SOA and governance to name two others), ESB doesn’t seem to have a consistent definition. The industry seems to be inventing terms at a fair clip as vendors attempt to differentiate themselves on what to me seem like fairly minor solution aspects.

Today’s speaker talked at length about a “large health care company in California” that he had personally worked with, building an ESB for them with BizTalk. He spoke in glowing terms of the size of the BizTalk environment and the number of messages passing through the bus every day. Then someone asked how many systems this unnamed company had hooked up to the bus. He paused, then admitted: “Six”.

Six? Not six whole systems! That’s gotta be a record!

Of course, I realize that there are deployed ESB’s out there that are integrating more than six systems. My group – the Integration Center of Excellence (ICoE for short) – runs a comparably sized BizTalk environment and we’re connecting around 50 internal systems and hundreds of external partners. But 50 is still a fairly small number. I can’t help but wonder how well will this ESB approach is going scale as the number of systems goes up a couple orders of magnitude. Frankly, I think the answer is “not well”.

The problem I have with ESB is that it’s a centralized approach. Given that one of the overriding trends of society in general and IT in particular is decentralization, the ESB approach feels like it’s swimming against the current instead of with it.

As an analogy, consider how well would the Internet work if every connection went thru a central hub? See what I mean? Centralized systems don’t scale like decentralized ones do.

I admit that there are scenarios where ESB-esque technology solves a practical problem. Transport adaptation and content based routing leap to mind. Services that need those capabilities should leverage ESB-esque technology. But whenever I listen to ESB proponents, I feel that the need for these capabilities is exaggerated to the point that every message exchanged between every service inside your enterprise travels on a central bus, which doesn’t seem realistic to me.

Am I wrong about this characterization? Do ESB proponents think that all messages must travel on the bus? How about you? What do you think? Inquiring minds (aka me) want to know…

Morning Coffee 70

  • Scott Hanselman details how the “unblock” feature in Windows works. Basically, when you download a file with IE, it adds an alternate data stream that specifies the zone the file came from (Internet, Intranet, Trusted, etc.). Even more details on Bart de Smet’s blog.
  • Nick Carr gets off on a rant on Wikipedia, Citizedium and “the truth” that’s pretty funny.
  • Remus Rusanu shows how to to reuse SSB conversations in a data syndication scenario. A while back, he wrote about a lightweight pub/sub SSB implementation – barely 200 lines of T-SQL code – that would also be very useful in data syndication scenarios. I’ve got data syndication on the brain right now, so this stuff is very timely.

Morning Coffee 69

  • John Shewchuk introduces the new BizTalk Services. Well, “new” is a bit of a misnomer: STS and Relay (now called Identity and Connectivity) were previously available under the Live Labs umbrella and the other new services they announced aren’t available yet. Bt these new services they announced are compelling: ServiceBus is an pub/sub event delivery mechanism that scales to the internet and Workflow is a WF hosting solution. I’m looking forward to experimenting with these new services (when they become available).
  • Nick Malik continues his series of posts on governance. Money quote: “Tools manage, People govern”. I feel a little bad because I punted on the governance presentation that’s he’s preping, so maybe I’ll get that on a bumper sticker for him or something.
  • Chris Anderson has a few voice-over lines in Halo 3. While that’s cool for him, he mentions a new feature I was unaware of: “the one thing that completely blew me away (aside from the graphics, animation, level design and new vehicles and weapons) was the ability to record a game and play it back on Xbox Live, freezing the action at any point and flying around the scene, Matrix style. It may sound just like a standard replay function, but take my word for it, it’s not. I think it’s revolutionary, and I predict that Halo 3 will take machinima to a whole new level.” Cool!
  • According to the XNA Team Blog, the new XNA GSE Refresh is now available. And as a thanks for our patience, they added four free months to all creator club members subscriptions. Thanks guys!

Morning Coffee 68

  • My wife and I celebrated our seven year anniversary over the weekend. She rocks. ‘Nuff said.
  • Over the weekend, Gov.Gregoire signed a bill that protecting the rights of same-sex couples. It’s not the same as full marriage rights (which long time readers know I fully support) but it’s a step in the right direction.
  • I picked up the Xbox 360 HD DVD player over the weekend. Rented Batman Begins and it looks awesome. However, it wasn’t the stunning difference between standard and high def TV programming. I wonder if my five year old HDTV is showing it’s age.
  • Scott Guthrie continues his LINQ series with a post on the new Query Syntax in C#3/VB9. While this is feature is great for those who are using LINQ to SQL, it does force pretty much all LINQ to whatever providers to support the from-where-orderby-select pattern. But not all query sources want to be limited to that model. For example, if you wanted to do a LINQ to Data Warehouse, wouldn’t you want more flexibility in your query syntax?
  • I didn’t realize Steve Jones had a blog. At least, I think this Steve Jones is the Steve Jones that I know. But I’m not sure. Either way, it looks good so I subscribed… (via Sam Gentile)