As a long time BizTalk Architect/consultant and having been involved in a number of advisory discussions and technology sessions with the Connected Systems Division of Microsoft I've had a fair amount of time to decide what it all means....
In the recent announcements it will come as no surprise that the basis of Oslo is the next versions of existing products:
Oslo is the code name for a set of technical investments that aim to significantly simplify designing, building, managing, and scaling service-oriented and composite applications that can span from the Enterprise to the Internet. The first version of Oslo will be delivered through the next versions of our application platform products such as Visual Studio “10”, System Center “5”, BizTalk Server “6”, BizTalk Services “1”, and .NET Framework “4”.
What is important is the edition of modeling and repository. With Oslo Microsoft will include the following:
- Modeling Tools: Multiple roles (analyst, architect, developer, IT Manager, etc) can visually share and collaborate on models, using the specific view of the model suited to their needs. Models can be edited either using the new modeling tools, or can be exposed through the existing familiar tools that the end-user already knows (e.g. Visual Studio, BizTalk, SharePoint, Visio, etc).
- Modeling Language: Microsoft are investing in the development of a new general purpose declarative language that enables models to be both executable as well as abstract. It will include modern language features, and seamless integration with traditional programming languages like VB and C#. It will also be interoperable with abstract modeling languages like UML and BPMN.
- Model Runtime: At runtime, the models are directly executable – the model is the implementation. The description of the model does not ever become out of synch with the actual running system. This is supported both by deep investments in the .NET Framework for model-driven capabilities (e.g. WCF and Windows Foundation) and also by a comprehensive set of services delivered by at the server to support execution of the models in a distributed environment.
- Model Repository: The Repository deeply embraces models as the core artifacts that it stores, manages and versions. The Repository is meant to also enable federation of models with other repositories that contain key information about the composite application.
Now as always this is what is planned or hoped to be delivered and may change as we progress through CTP's and Beta's.
The Repository is Microsoft's approach to managing metadata across the enterprise, the idea is to align product visions and roadmaps to leverage a common Repository solution. Having a common approach does not necessarily correlate to one physical store, but more of a federated model and Microsoft believe that some of the new Repository, along with existing investments in both CMDB and TFS, will form the foundation for a common Microsoft metadata strategy and should be supported across all of their products.
From a BizTalk standpoint, Oslo means big investment in vNext BizTalk and the clarification of the Windows Foundation and orchestration issues. Microsoft are simultaneously have been investing in new significant areas such as using Windows Foundation and WCF and continue by adding them deeply and natively within the core BizTalk engine. Of course the difficult topic of "backward compatibility for existing applications based upon current versions of BizTalk Server" has to be addressed so vNext BizTalk will ship with the existing BizTalk orchestration engine and will support side-by-side execution of both older XLANG-based and newer Windows Foundation-based processes.Hopefully we will also see support for BPEL 2.0.
In addition to these core Oslo products my expectation is to see Office '14' built on aspects of Oslo particularly Windows Foundation. It would be nice of course to see WCF make it to MOSS 20XX as well! Perfromance Point Server vNext, most likely, will have it's prosperity workflow ripped out and Windows Foundation introduced and similar work across the Dynamics product set.
So in the CSD world the future looks rosy - as always the devil is in the detail and already I have questions = for example....running Windows Foundation and XLANG orchestration side by side.....does that mean we have two rules approaches to consider? The one area that seems to be very unclear is around rules. Thoughts on this area will come from my colleague Charles Young.