Click here to close now.


Microservices Expo Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Chris Witeck , Pat Romanski, Carmen Gonzalez

Related Topics: Microservices Expo

Microservices Expo: Article

The Smart Money's on OASIS BTP

The Smart Money's on OASIS BTP

By now we've all heard a fair bit about Web services, a lot of hype and few hints that there's something really innovative going on here. Trudge round any developer conference and you'll hear the chatter of eager developers wanting to roll together a host of disparate Web services into the most fantastic and powerful applications the enterprise has ever seen.

Composing enterprise applications out of Web services is a hot topic, but the practicalities of building real applications out of Web services are a world apart from the sales-speak and hyperbole that we've heard so far.

Web Services: Some Home Truths
While Web services are beautifully simple and intuitive, with a really gentle learning curve, their simplicity belies a more troublesome implementation. Since the Web services model is so simple, much of the richness (and complexity) that we've been used to in previous enterprise architectures isn't there for us to draw upon ­ or at least not yet.

Enterprise developers are going to be given a hitherto unparalleled world of choice in terms of the components they'll use, and component suppliers will have to compete on criteria like cost, performance, and functionality. Better still, significant effort is going into improving the whole infrastructure on which the Web services architecture rests, like increasingly robust application servers and reliable transports like IBM's HTTPR. This all sounds like it should make a great platform ­ and it does, mostly.

With increasingly robust back-end and transport technologies, and plenty of component choice, it would seem that Web services really might be the silver bullet for enterprise computing. There is, however, a dark cloud hanging over this otherwise beautiful horizon: developers will now need to routinely support activities that span multiple Web services across multiple enterprises. This raises the rather prickly issue of how to maintain consistency among these components. While this isn't a new problem, it's a new one for Web services.

About a year ago, some people from a range of vendors with similar concerns got together under the umbrella of the OASIS Business Transaction Protocol (BTP) initiative. Like me, these people spent their days worrying that application developers were going to write software that spanned multiple business systems, and wanted to ensure that these systems would work reliably.

The result of this effort is a draft standard for transactioning in loosely coupled environments like Web services. OASIS BTP is an innovative, extended transaction model designed to allow work to progress even in the presence of failures ­ a significantly different take on the problem compared to the EJB or JTS transactioning we've been used to, where failure of any aspect is the undoing of the whole transaction.

While BTP is a lengthy and intricate work, it is predicated upon two fundamental constructs: the Atom and the Cohesion.

  • BTP Atoms are similar to atomic transactions. The difference is that Web services participating in BTP transactions aren't usually owned by the initiator and thus atomicity via strict two-phase locking can't be guaranteed. However, Web services participating in an Atom are guaranteed the same outcome as all other participants.
  • Cohesions allow business logic to dictate which combination of participants can fail or succeed, while permitting the transaction as a whole to make forward progress ­ this allows the transaction to proceed even in the event of failures.

    BTP provides the necessary underpinning for conducting activities of real value over Web services, but at a cost. Web service developers will have to make their services BTP-aware using one of a number of BTP toolkits ­ such as HP Web Services Transactions. There's also a learning process associated with both BTP and the various BTP toolkits. The benefits far outweigh the costs, however, since Web services that support BTP implicitly benefit from being kept in step with other Web services involved in your business.

    How to Ruin an Enterprise Application...
    If you really want to ruin a good Web services­based application, then simply ignore the matter of maintaining consistency among your partners', suppliers', and customers' Web services. Stand back and watch as your systems annoy anyone and everyone you do business with by sending them different, conflicting signals with no arbitration. Don't believe me? Just wait until you've "shipped" your first out-of-stock item that the credit card company couldn't authorize, with a courier that can't deliver. Now scale that to the Web ­ scary, isn't it?

    ...and How Not To
    You guessed it. Where business transactions between multiple parties carry some intrinsic value, they must be supported by transactions. For Web services, BTP is the runaway leader in what's currently a one-horse race ­ it's a simple bet, isn't it?

  • More Stories By Jim Webber

    Dr. Jim Webber is a senior researcher from the University of Newcastle
    upon Tyne, currently working in the convergence of Web Services and Grid
    technologies at the University of Sydney, Australia. Jim was previously
    Web Services architect with Arjuna Technologies where he worked on Web
    Services transactioning technology, including being one of the original
    authors of the WS-CAF specification. Prior to Arjuna, Jim was the lead
    developer with Hewlett-Packard on the industry's first Web Services
    Transaction solution. Co-author of "Developing Enterprise Web Services -
    An Architect's Guide," Jim is an active speaker and author in the Web
    Services space. Jim's home on the web is

    Comments (0)

    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.

    @MicroservicesExpo Stories
    Microservices are a very exciting architectural approach that many organizations are looking to as a way to accelerate innovation. Microservices promise to allow teams to move away from monolithic "ball of mud" systems, but the reality is that, in the vast majority of organizations, different projects and technologies will continue to be developed at different speeds. How to handle the dependencies between these disparate systems with different iteration cycles? Consider the "canoncial problem"...
    Culture is the most important ingredient of DevOps. The challenge for most organizations is defining and communicating a vision of beneficial DevOps culture for their organizations, and then facilitating the changes needed to achieve that. Often this comes down to an ability to provide true leadership. As a CIO, are your direct reports IT managers or are they IT leaders? The hard truth is that many IT managers have risen through the ranks based on their technical skills, not their leadership ab...
    I recently attended and was a speaker at the 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center. I also had the opportunity to attend this event last year and I wrote a blog from that show talking about how the “Enterprise Impact of IoT” was a key theme of last year’s show. I was curious to see if the same theme would still resonate 365 days later and what, if any, changes I would see in the content presented.
    In his General Session at DevOps Summit, Asaf Yigal, Co-Founder & VP of Product at, explored the value of Kibana 4 for log analysis and provided a hands-on tutorial on how to set up Kibana 4 and get the most out of Apache log files. He examined three use cases: IT operations, business intelligence, and security and compliance. Asaf Yigal is co-founder and VP of Product at log analytics software company In the past, he was co-founder of social-trading platform Currensee, which...
    Discussions of cloud computing have evolved in recent years from a focus on specific types of cloud, to a world of hybrid cloud, and to a world dominated by the APIs that make today's multi-cloud environments and hybrid clouds possible. In this Power Panel at 17th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the importance of customers being able to use the specific technologies they need, through environments and ecosystems that expose their APIs to make true ...
    With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York and Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty ...
    Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 7-9, 2016 at Javits Center, New York City and Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 18th International @CloudExpo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
    Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Day 2 Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, San...
    There are over 120 breakout sessions in all, with Keynotes, General Sessions, and Power Panels adding to three days of incredibly rich presentations and content. Join @ThingsExpo conference chair Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040), June 7-9, 2016 in New York City, for three days of intense 'Internet of Things' discussion and focus, including Big Data's indespensable role in IoT, Smart Grids and Industrial Internet of Things, Wearables and Consumer IoT, as well as (new) IoT's use in Vertical Markets.
    The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data...
    One of the most important tenets of digital transformation is that it’s customer-driven. In fact, the only reason technology is involved at all is because today’s customers demand technology-based interactions with the companies they do business with. It’s no surprise, therefore, that we at Intellyx agree with Patrick Maes, CTO, ANZ Bank, when he said, “the fundamental element in digital transformation is extreme customer centricity.” So true – but note the insightful twist that Maes adde...
    Just over a week ago I received a long and loud sustained applause for a presentation I delivered at this year’s Cloud Expo in Santa Clara. I was extremely pleased with the turnout and had some very good conversations with many of the attendees. Over the next few days I had many more meaningful conversations and was not only happy with the results but also learned a few new things. Here is everything I learned in those three days distilled into three short points.
    Using any programming framework to the fullest extent possible first requires an understanding of advanced software architecture concepts. While writing a little client-side JavaScript does not necessarily require as much consideration when designing a scalable software architecture, the evolution of tools like Node.js means that you could be facing large code bases that must be easy to maintain.
    As organizations realize the scope of the Internet of Things, gaining key insights from Big Data, through the use of advanced analytics, becomes crucial. However, IoT also creates the need for petabyte scale storage of data from millions of devices. A new type of Storage is required which seamlessly integrates robust data analytics with massive scale. These storage systems will act as “smart systems” provide in-place analytics that speed discovery and enable businesses to quickly derive meaningf...
    DevOps is about increasing efficiency, but nothing is more inefficient than building the same application twice. However, this is a routine occurrence with enterprise applications that need both a rich desktop web interface and strong mobile support. With recent technological advances from Isomorphic Software and others, rich desktop and tuned mobile experiences can now be created with a single codebase – without compromising functionality, performance or usability. In his session at DevOps Su...
    You may have heard about the pets vs. cattle discussion – a reference to the way application servers are deployed in the cloud native world. If an application server goes down it can simply be dropped from the mix and a new server added in its place. The practice so far has mostly been applied to application deployments. Management software on the other hand is treated in a very special manner. Dedicated resources are set aside to run the management software components and several alerting syst...
    It's been a busy time for tech's ongoing infatuation with containers. Amazon just announced EC2 Container Registry to simply container management. The new Azure container service taps into Microsoft's partnership with Docker and Mesosphere. You know when there's a standard for containers on the table there's money on the table, too. Everyone is talking containers because they reduce a ton of development-related challenges and make it much easier to move across production and testing environm...
    Continuous processes around the development and deployment of applications are both impacted by -- and a benefit to -- the Internet of Things trend. To help better understand the relationship between DevOps and a plethora of new end-devices and data please welcome Gary Gruver, consultant, author and a former IT executive who has led many large-scale IT transformation projects, and John Jeremiah, Technology Evangelist at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), on Twitter at @j_jeremiah. The discussion...
    People want to get going with DevOps or Continuous Delivery, but need a place to start. Others are already on their way, but need some validation of their choices. A few months ago, I published the first volume of DevOps and Continuous Delivery reference architectures which has now been viewed over 50,000 times on SlideShare (it's free to registration required). Three things helped people in the deck: (1) the reference architectures, (2) links to the sources for each architectur...
    Hiring the wrong candidate can cost a company hundreds of thousands of dollars, and result in lost profit and productivity during the search for a replacement. In fact, the Harvard Business Review has found that as much as 80 percent of turnover is caused by bad hiring decisions. But when your organization has implemented DevOps, the job is about more than just technical chops. It’s also about core behaviors: how they work with others, how they make decisions, and how those decisions translate t...