IBM proposes web services and grid convergence

IBM has unveiled three specifications intended to converge web services and grid computing.

IBM has unveiled three specifications intended to converge web services and grid computing.
The specifications, which were introduced at the GlobusWorld 2004 conference in San Francisco yesterday, were WS-Notification, a web services specification for triggering events in IT infrastructure; WS-Resource Lifetime, enabling a user to specify the period during which a resource definition is valid; and WS-Resource Properties, which defines how data associated with a stateful resource can be queried and changed using web services technologies. All are part of a greater WS-Resource Framework (WSRF).

Other companies participating in the WSRF proposals are Hewlett-Packard, Sonic Software, Tibco, Akamai and The Globus Alliance.

WS-Notification provides a mechanism for standards-based communications of events within a network of computer systems. Examples could include an application notifying another that a purchase order has been accepted, or that data is ready for download. Until recently, communicating such "events" between business applications was done through proprietary messaging systems.

An analyst noted similarities between WSRF and the recent WS-Eventing proposal.

"On the face of it, one would think that WS-Notifications competes with the WS-Eventing spec, and you'd be right - on the face of it, it does," said Ronald Schmelzer, senior analyst at ZapThink.

"These two specs will probably not be used together in a specific implementation. WS-Eventing, recently announced by Microsoft, BEA, Tibco, and others, also seeks to address standards-based, pub/sub messaging and provides a dictionary for defining the events themselves.

"It was conspicuous that IBM was absent from that announcement, and now we know why: IBM was working on its own spec, WS-Notification."

Specifications to be added to WSRF later this year are WS-Base Faults, providing a way of surfacing faults in the execution of resources and web services; WS-Renewable References, providing lifecycle management for resource identifiers; and Service Groups, for clustering of services in the WSRF.

WSRF is to be submitted to a standards organisation such as Oasis in approximately three to six months' time following implementations and interoperability tests.

Paul Krill writes for InfoWorld

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