Welcome!

Wireless Authors: Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Esmeralda Swartz, Theo Nissim

Related Topics: .NET, XML, SOA & WOA

.NET: 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
The industrial software market has treated data with the mentality of “collect everything now, worry about how to use it later.” We now find ourselves buried in data, with the pervasive connectivity of the (Industrial) Internet of Things only piling on more numbers. There’s too much data and not enough information. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Bob Gates, Global Marketing Director, GE’s Intelligent Platforms business, to discuss how realizing the power of IoT, software developers are now focused on understanding how industrial data can create intelligence for industrial operations. Imagine ...
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, discussed single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series data. By focusing on enterprise applications and the data center, he will use OpenTSDB as an example t...
Today’s enterprise is being driven by disruptive competitive and human capital requirements to provide enterprise application access through not only desktops, but also mobile devices. To retrofit existing programs across all these devices using traditional programming methods is very costly and time consuming – often prohibitively so. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO, President, and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., discussed how you can create applications that run on all mobile devices as well as laptops and desktops using a visual drag-and-drop application – and eForms-buildi...
There is no doubt that Big Data is here and getting bigger every day. Building a Big Data infrastructure today is no easy task. There are an enormous number of choices for database engines and technologies. To make things even more challenging, requirements are getting more sophisticated, and the standard paradigm of supporting historical analytics queries is often just one facet of what is needed. As Big Data growth continues, organizations are demanding real-time access to data, allowing immediate and actionable interpretation of events as they happen. Another aspect concerns how to deliver ...
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect at GE, and Ibrahim Gokcen, who leads GE's advanced IoT analytics, focused on the Internet of Things / Industrial Internet and how to make it operational for business end-users. Learn about the challenges posed by machine and sensor data and how to marry it with enterprise data. They also discussed the tips and tricks to provide the Industrial Internet as an end-user consumable service using Big Data Analytics and Industrial Cloud.
Things are being built upon cloud foundations to transform organizations. This CEO Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Roger Strukhoff, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo conference chair, addressed the big issues involving these technologies and, more important, the results they will achieve. Rodney Rogers, chairman and CEO of Virtustream; Brendan O'Brien, co-founder of Aria Systems, Bart Copeland, president and CEO of ActiveState Software; Jim Cowie, chief scientist at Dyn; Dave Wagstaff, VP and chief architect at BSQUARE Corporation; Seth Proctor, CTO of NuoDB, Inc.; and Andris Gailitis, C...
How do APIs and IoT relate? The answer is not as simple as merely adding an API on top of a dumb device, but rather about understanding the architectural patterns for implementing an IoT fabric. There are typically two or three trends: Exposing the device to a management framework Exposing that management framework to a business centric logic Exposing that business layer and data to end users. This last trend is the IoT stack, which involves a new shift in the separation of what stuff happens, where data lives and where the interface lies. For instance, it's a mix of architectural styles ...
The Industrial Internet revolution is now underway, enabled by connected machines and billions of devices that communicate and collaborate. The massive amounts of Big Data requiring real-time analysis is flooding legacy IT systems and giving way to cloud environments that can handle the unpredictable workloads. Yet many barriers remain until we can fully realize the opportunities and benefits from the convergence of machines and devices with Big Data and the cloud, including interoperability, data security and privacy.
Technology is enabling a new approach to collecting and using data. This approach, commonly referred to as the "Internet of Things" (IoT), enables businesses to use real-time data from all sorts of things including machines, devices and sensors to make better decisions, improve customer service, and lower the risk in the creation of new revenue opportunities. In his General Session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Dave Wagstaff, Vice President and Chief Architect at BSQUARE Corporation, discuss the real benefits to focus on, how to understand the requirements of a successful solution, the flow of ...
Cloud Expo 2014 TV commercials will feature @ThingsExpo, which was launched in June, 2014 at New York City's Javits Center as the largest 'Internet of Things' event in the world.
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Performance is the intersection of power, agility, control, and choice. If you value performance, and more specifically consistent performance, you need to look beyond simple virtualized compute. Many factors need to be considered to create a truly performant environment. In his General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, discussed how to take advantage of a multitude of compute options and platform features to make cloud the cornerstone of your online presence.
In this Women in Technology Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Anne Plese, Senior Consultant, Cloud Product Marketing at Verizon Enterprise, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO at MetraTech; Evelyn de Souza, Data Privacy and Compliance Strategy Leader at Cisco Systems; Seema Jethani, Director of Product Management at Basho Technologies; Victoria Livschitz, CEO of Qubell Inc.; Anne Hungate, Senior Director of Software Quality at DIRECTV, discussed what path they took to find their spot within the technology industry and how do they see opportunities for other women in their area of expertise.
Wearable devices have come of age. The primary applications of wearables so far have been "the Quantified Self" or the tracking of one's fitness and health status. We propose the evolution of wearables into social and emotional communication devices. Our BE(tm) sensor uses light to visualize the skin conductance response. Our sensors are very inexpensive and can be massively distributed to audiences or groups of any size, in order to gauge reactions to performances, video, or any kind of presentation. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Jocelyn Scheirer, CEO & Founder of Bionolux, will discuss ho...
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential.
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity.
We’re no longer looking to the future for the IoT wave. It’s no longer a distant dream but a reality that has arrived. It’s now time to make sure the industry is in alignment to meet the IoT growing pains – cooperate and collaborate as well as innovate. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, will examine the key ingredients to IoT success and identify solutions to challenges the industry is facing. The deep industry expertise behind this presentation will provide attendees with a leading edge view of rapidly emerging IoT oppor...
“With easy-to-use SDKs for Atmel’s platforms, IoT developers can now reap the benefits of realtime communication, and bypass the security pitfalls and configuration complexities that put IoT deployments at risk,” said Todd Greene, founder & CEO of PubNub. PubNub will team with Atmel at CES 2015 to launch full SDK support for Atmel’s MCU, MPU, and Wireless SoC platforms. Atmel developers now have access to PubNub’s secure Publish/Subscribe messaging with guaranteed ¼ second latencies across PubNub’s 14 global points-of-presence. PubNub delivers secure communication through firewalls, proxy ser...