Welcome!

Mobile IoT Authors: Steve Wilson, Derek Weeks, Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: Microsoft Cloud, Industrial IoT, Microservices Expo

Microsoft Cloud: Article

Bill Gates & Microsoft Herald "A New Generation of Software and Web Services"

Gates E-Mail Focuses On "Building Software That Is Interoperable By Design"

Bill Gates - a.k.a. William H. Gates III, Chairman and Chief Software Architect, Microsoft Corporation - writes: "Every day, businesses face an ongoing challenge of making a wide variety of software from many different vendors work together. It's crucial to success in streamlining business processes, getting closer to customers and partners, or making mergers and acquisitions successful.

This email, which you are receiving as a subscriber to executive emails from Microsoft, outlines the company's work to make its products interoperate well in a diverse IT environment.

Whether you are connecting with partners' systems, accessing data from a mainframe, connecting applications written in different programming languages or trying to log on across multiple systems, bringing heterogeneous technologies together while reducing costs is today a challenge that touches every part of the organization.

Over the years, our industry has tried many approaches to come to grips with the heterogeneity of software. But the solution that has proven consistently effective - and the one that yields the greatest success for developers today - is a strong commitment to interoperability. That means letting different kinds of applications and systems do what they do best, while agreeing on a common "contract" for how disparate systems can communicate to exchange data with one another.

Interoperability is more pragmatic than other approaches, such as attempting to make all systems compatible at the code level, focusing solely on adding new layers of middleware that try to make all systems look and act the same, or seeking to make different systems interchangeable. With a common understanding of basic protocols, different software can interact smoothly with little or no specific knowledge of each other. The Internet is perhaps the most obvious example of this kind of interoperability, where any piece of software can connect and exchange data as long as it adheres to the key protocols.

Simply put, interoperability is a proven approach for dealing with the diversity and heterogeneity of the marketplace. Today I want to focus on two major thrusts of Microsoft's product interoperability strategy: First, we continue to support customers' needs for software that works well with what they have today. Second, we are working with the industry to define a new generation of software and Web services based on eXtensible Markup Language (XML), which enables software to efficiently share information and opens the door to a greater degree of "interoperability by design" across many different kinds of software. Our goal is to harness all the power inherent in modern (and not so modern) business software, and enable them to work together so that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. We want to further eliminate friction among heterogeneous architectures and applications without compromising their distinctive underlying capabilities.

This may seem like an obvious approach, but the desire for interoperability is sometimes mixed up with other issues. For example, interoperability is sometimes viewed merely as adherence to a published specification of some kind, either from one or more vendors or a standards organization. But simply publishing a specification may not be enough, because it overlooks much of the hard work it takes to successfully develop interoperable products - namely, ensuring that the "contract" defined by a specification is successfully implemented in software and tested in a production environment.

Sometimes interoperability is also confused with open source software. Interoperability is about how different software systems work together. Open source is a methodology for licensing and/or developing software ? that may or may not be interoperable. Additionally, the open source development approach encourages the creation of many permutations of the same type of software application, which could add implementation and testing overhead to interoperability efforts.

Working With What You Have

Wholesale replacement of existing technologies is a tough sell for most organizations. They simply have too much invested in a variety of systems from any number of vendors. So, making new software work alongside existing systems is an ongoing customer need. Because of this, Microsoft has consistently invested in helping customers integrate our platform and applications with a broad array of popular (and even not so popular) hardware, software and networks.

As a result of these efforts, Microsoft offers a comprehensive portfolio of interoperability software capabilities, from the operating system to individual applications. Our software works with a vast array of technologies in the marketplace, whether they shipped last week or decades ago. Microsoft software can talk to mainframes and minicomputers from IBM and other manufacturers; other operating systems such as the Mac OS and various UNIXes including Linux; NetWare or AppleTalk networks and native Internet protocols; dozens of programming languages, ranging from COBOL and RPG, through C++ and Java, to the latest experimental languages; hundreds of databases including Oracle, Sybase and DB2; popular business applications like SAP or Siebel; vertical industry standards like SWIFT or HL7; email systems; and infrastructure products providing message queues, directory, management and security.

Many of Microsoft's products, such as Windows, Office, SQL Server, Exchange and Visual Studio, have significant functionality dedicated to interoperating with non-Microsoft products. Some of Microsoft's server products are focused squarely on interoperability, such as Host Integration Server for mainframe connectivity, BizTalk Server for heterogeneous integration across multiple applications, or Identity Integration Server, which helps simplify user authentication and management across diverse systems. These resulted from many years of working to understand customer needs and their existing environments.

While our investments in interoperability are mostly focused on the design of our software, we are also involved in work that contributes to interoperability across the industry. Microsoft participates in many formal and informal industry standards organizations to help define the specifications that are a prerequisite for interoperability. We publish APIs, protocols and software development kits, and license our underlying intellectual property associated with this technology, to help others deliver interoperable software. And we collaborate and share technology with a wide array of industry participants, some of them direct competitors, to deliver interoperability solutions that work well with our products.

In fact, in a recent survey by Jupiter Research, 72% of IT managers rated Microsoft technologies as the most interoperable within their existing environments. Similarly, for enhancing interoperability in the financial industry via Web services, Microsoft .NET was recently named by Waters magazine as the best business development environment. This successful approach to interoperability stems in large part from Microsoft's heritage as a personal computer company: we have always put a lot of emphasis on well-defined mechanisms for how different products from different companies interact, because of the incredible diversity of PC hardware and software. Without a commitment to interoperability, the industry, including Microsoft, would have been stopped in its tracks.

Using XML to Achieve "Interoperability by Design"

While Microsoft software supports an incredibly diverse array of interoperability mechanisms today, most of these are essentially unique efforts, each developed, tested and maintained individually to interoperate with a specific piece of hardware or software. The need to create individual solutions for each interoperability issue results in ever-increasing complexity. Customers and vendors - even companies of Microsoft's size - face resource limitations as they struggle to keep up with the documentation, testing and minute technical details required by this approach.

To address this issue, Microsoft has been working with the industry to advance a new generation of software that is interoperable by design, reducing the need for custom development and cumbersome testing and certification. These efforts are centered on using XML, which makes information self-describing - and thus more easily understood by different systems. For example, when two systems exchange a purchase order, the attributes of that purchase order are described in XML, so any receiving system can use that description to translate and use the enclosed information. This approach is also the foundation for XML-based Web services, which provide an Internet-based set of protocols for distributed computing. This new model for how software talks to other software has been embraced across the industry. It is the cornerstone of Microsoft .NET and the latest generation of our Visual Studio tools for software developers.

This approach is also evident in the use of XML as the data interoperability framework for Office 2003 and the Office System set of products. Office documents, spreadsheets and forms can be saved in an XML file format that is freely available for anyone to license and use. Office also supports customer-defined XML schema beyond the existing Office document types. This means two things: first, by supporting data in XML, customers can easily unlock information in existing systems and act upon it in familiar Office applications. Second, information created within Office can be easily used by other business applications.

The XML-based architecture for Web services, known as WS-* ("WS-Star"), is being developed in close collaboration with dozens of other companies in the industry including IBM, Sun, Oracle and BEA. This standard set of protocols significantly reduces the cost and complexity of connecting disparate systems, and it enables interoperability not just within the four walls of an organization, but also across the globe. In mid-2003, Forrester Research said that up to a "ten-fold improvement in integration costs will come from service-oriented architectures that use standard software plumbing." Forrester believes those improvements are realistic today. However, the definition of well-designed protocol architecture is just part of the challenge. As part of this collaborative effort, Microsoft and other companies have invested significant resources to ensure that Web services implementations from different companies really are interoperable. This has involved industry workshops, extensive testing, revision of specifications in the face of experience, and even setting up an industry body known as WS-I to help ensure interoperability.

Microsoft's interoperability investments to date have yielded significant benefits to customers and the industry. And we are well aware that we can do even more to help customers and partners achieve greater interoperability to meet their business needs. The foundation we are building with XML is already yielding significant reductions in the time, skill and cost required to integrate systems.

We also see a tremendous opportunity for developers and IT professionals to help usher in a new generation of software that is interoperable by design. We have launched a new Web site (http://www.microsoft.com/interop) that provides more details on the interoperability capabilities of our software. Please take a few moments to visit; you'll find technical information, Webcasts and events intended to help you get the most from your Microsoft products in a heterogeneous software environment.

Bill Gates"

[Received by SYS-CON's i-Technology News Desk from Bill Gates 2.3.05 as an Executive E-Mail]

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

Comments (18) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
StevieWonder 02/04/05 08:08:19 AM EST

Way to go Contradiction! Read my post on Maureen O'Garas "Microsoft, the Interoperator, As I Live and Breathe!".

Contradiction 02/04/05 07:09:21 AM EST

Everyone complains MS doesn't do interop. Then MS *does* pledge to do interop. Everyone STILL complains. Funny old world.

buklmarket05 02/04/05 06:07:08 AM EST

## quezztion commented on 4 February 2005:
How about Bill Gates just buys out Sun? ##

I'd let my shares go for $10.00 although I'm sure others would want more but $10 seems fair to me and Microsoft can afford anything they want.

quezztion 02/04/05 06:05:59 AM EST

How about Bill Gates just buys out Sun?

klasdas 02/04/05 06:03:26 AM EST

Take a look at this paper:

http://www.dwheeler.com/oss_fs_why.html

hakuin_us 02/04/05 06:00:24 AM EST

Since linux runs on practically everything and is reliable and secure, a linux monoculture would be a vast improvement.

Billy 02/04/05 05:50:29 AM EST

Always fun to receive an e-mail from God. All power to Gates, if he can be bothered to write to everyone, that's no bad thing. Communication is always good.

Daniel Wallace 02/04/05 05:50:25 AM EST

>The fact that this is so transparent leaves me wondering
>why we are still using the word "monoculture" when we all
>know that "monoculture" is simply code language for
>"MS-Culture."

I believe you misspelled "monoculture" it' m-o-n-o-p-o-l-y.

fatcitystate 02/04/05 03:32:36 AM EST

I have a very simple question for those who either propagate or agree with the concept that monoculture is dangerous. If an organization was running all Linux on their desktops and servers, would you tell them that they have a big monoculture problem and they should immediately convert half of their desktops and servers to Windows XP and Windows 2003 in the name of cyber diversity?

I would put money on the table that 9 out of 10 monoculture opponents would not. Its no secret that the Washington-based anti-Microsoft lobby group CCIA is really more concerned about a Microsoft culture than a monoculture. The fact that this is so transparent leaves me wondering why we are still using the word "monoculture" when we all know that "monoculture" is simply code language for "MS-Culture." Why not call it what it is and say "we're concerned about the MS-Culture" instead of "we're concerned about Monoculture?"

Uh oh 02/04/05 03:30:07 AM EST

Look like the monoculture world is on its way.

delenda_est_microsoft 02/04/05 03:23:37 AM EST

Big Brother Gates speaks

intentoserjusto 02/04/05 03:22:54 AM EST

kindler, gentler, more interoperable? or another buzz word spree? you make the call...

peecee user 02/04/05 03:18:09 AM EST

Bill Gates is the bozo that said the Internet would never amount to anything then rewrote his road ahead book to add the Internet when he realized he was dead wrong.

Listening to Gates for future directions is a sure way to be wrong. Don't confuse vision with market position. The former takes skill. The later is something to be lost to people with the former.

Why is google almost a verb in the english language? Because Bill Gates missed the boat yet again.

symbolic 02/04/05 03:16:49 AM EST

I can easily see Microsoft lapsing into the same kind of "saturated market mentality" that afflicts other industries. Instead of focusing on innovation and providing real value, they'll focus on ways to use the same medium to extract more cash- increased licensing fees, unbundling of certain components, software-as-a-service, annual subscriptions, and countless other possibilities that will require payment over and above the base cost.

jc42 02/04/05 03:16:12 AM EST

Remember the discussions a while back about MS patenting some of their XML encoding schemes?

pHatidic 02/04/05 03:15:23 AM EST

What is to prevent everyone from switching to openoffice if everything interoperates perfectly? Also, what does this mean for OASIS?

Gates email 02/04/05 03:14:38 AM EST

From the letter:

|||In mid-2003, Forrester Research said that up to a "ten-fold improvement in integration costs will come from service-oriented architectures that use standard software plumbing." Forrester believes those improvements are realistic today.|||

How in the world does Forrester figure these things?? Who even *cares* what Forrester "thinks"?

gnovos 02/04/05 03:13:53 AM EST

I worked at a company a few years ago that was a newly minted "Microsoft Partner". Microsoft came in one day and we all had a big meeting. The rep told us, point blank, that they were developing the same software as us, but were a little behind. The deal was this: We'll liscense them all our software at a n unfathomably great rate, they'll promote our company for two years to thier other partners, and then they'll release thier own version of the software at that point, having built in all the improvements that they can from examining our software, and undercut us.

If we don't agree to the terms, they'll release thier software now and compete with us directly withotu the two-year gap.

So basically, that was life as a Microsoft Partner.

@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Datera, that offers a radically new data management architecture, has been named "Exhibitor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Datera is transforming the traditional datacenter model through modern cloud simplicity. The technology industry is at another major inflection point. The rise of mobile, the Internet of Things, data storage and Big...
An increasing number of companies are creating products that combine data with analytical capabilities. Running interactive queries on Big Data requires complex architectures to store and query data effectively, typically involving data streams, an choosing efficient file format/database and multiple independent systems that are tied together through custom-engineered pipelines. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Tomer Levi, a senior software engineer at Intel’s Advanced Analytics ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Datera will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Datera offers a radically new approach to data management, where innovative software makes data infrastructure invisible, elastic and able to perform at the highest level. It eliminates hardware lock-in and gives IT organizations the choice to source x86 server nodes, with business model option...
With 10 simultaneous tracks, keynotes, general sessions and targeted breakout classes, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo are two of the most important technology events of the year. Since its launch over eight years ago, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo have presented a rock star faculty as well as showcased hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors! In this blog post, I provide 7 tips on how, as part of our world-class faculty, you can deliver one of the most popular sessions at our events. But before reading the...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named "Platinum Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business - from apparel to energy - is being rewritten by software. From planning to development to management to security, CA creates software that fuels transformation for companies in the applic...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
SYS-CON Events announced today that GrapeUp, the leading provider of rapid product development at the speed of business, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Grape Up is a software company, specialized in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market acr...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devic...
From 2013, NTT Communications has been providing cPaaS service, SkyWay. Its customer’s expectations for leveraging WebRTC technology are not only typical real-time communication use cases such as Web conference, remote education, but also IoT use cases such as remote camera monitoring, smart-glass, and robotic. Because of this, NTT Communications has numerous IoT business use-cases that its customers are developing on top of PaaS. WebRTC will lead IoT businesses to be more innovative and address...
In his opening keynote at 20th Cloud Expo, Michael Maximilien, Research Scientist, Architect, and Engineer at IBM, discussed the full potential of the cloud and social data requires artificial intelligence. By mixing Cloud Foundry and the rich set of Watson services, IBM's Bluemix is the best cloud operating system for enterprises today, providing rapid development and deployment of applications that can take advantage of the rich catalog of Watson services to help drive insights from the vast t...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Elastifile will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Elastifile Cloud File System (ECFS) is software-defined data infrastructure designed for seamless and efficient management of dynamic workloads across heterogeneous environments. Elastifile provides the architecture needed to optimize your hybrid cloud environment, by facilitating efficient...
Recently, IoT seems emerging as a solution vehicle for data analytics on real-world scenarios from setting a room temperature setting to predicting a component failure of an aircraft. Compared with developing an application or deploying a cloud service, is an IoT solution unique? If so, how? How does a typical IoT solution architecture consist? And what are the essential components and how are they relevant to each other? How does the security play out? What are the best practices in formulating...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Arvind Radhakrishnen discussed how IoT offers new business models in banking and financial services organizations with the capability to revolutionize products, payments, channels, business processes and asset management built on strong architectural foundation. The following topics were covered: How IoT stands to impact various business parameters including customer experience, cost and risk management within BFS organizations.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Golden Gate University will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Since 1901, non-profit Golden Gate University (GGU) has been helping adults achieve their professional goals by providing high quality, practice-based undergraduate and graduate educational programs in law, taxation, business and related professions. Many of its courses are taug...
WebRTC is great technology to build your own communication tools. It will be even more exciting experience it with advanced devices, such as a 360 Camera, 360 microphone, and a depth sensor camera. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Masashi Ganeko, a manager at INFOCOM Corporation, will introduce two experimental projects from his team and what they learned from them. "Shotoku Tamago" uses the robot audition software HARK to track speakers in 360 video of a remote party. "Virtual Teleport" uses a...
When shopping for a new data processing platform for IoT solutions, many development teams want to be able to test-drive options before making a choice. Yet when evaluating an IoT solution, it’s simply not feasible to do so at scale with physical devices. Building a sensor simulator is the next best choice; however, generating a realistic simulation at very high TPS with ease of configurability is a formidable challenge. When dealing with multiple application or transport protocols, you would be...
SYS-CON Events announced today that DXWorldExpo has been named “Global Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation is the key issue driving the global enterprise IT business. Digital Transformation is most prominent among Global 2000 enterprises and government institutions.
21st International Cloud Expo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Me...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Secure Channels, a cybersecurity firm, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Secure Channels, Inc. offers several products and solutions to its many clients, helping them protect critical data from being compromised and access to computer networks from the unauthorized. The company develops comprehensive data encryption security strategie...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sudarshan Krishnamurthi, a Senior Manager, Business Strategy, at Cisco Systems, discussed how IT and operational technology (OT) work together, as opposed to being in separate siloes as once was traditional. Attendees learned how to fully leverage the power of IoT in their organization by bringing the two sides together and bridging the communication gap. He also looked at what good leadership must entail in order to accomplish this, and how IT managers can be the ...