Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Stackify Blog, Aruna Ravichandran, Dalibor Siroky, Kevin Jackson, PagerDuty Blog

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.

A New Hope: OASIS BTP
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 http://jim.webber.name

    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
    How is DevOps going within your organization? If you need some help measuring just how well it is going, we have prepared a list of some key DevOps metrics to track. These metrics can help you understand how your team is doing over time. The word DevOps means different things to different people. Some say it a culture and every vendor in the industry claims that their tools help with DevOps. Depending on how you define DevOps, some of these metrics may matter more or less to you and your team.
    For many of us laboring in the fields of digital transformation, 2017 was a year of high-intensity work and high-reward achievement. So we’re looking forward to a little breather over the end-of-year holiday season. But we’re going to have to get right back on the Continuous Delivery bullet train in 2018. Markets move too fast and customer expectations elevate too precipitously for businesses to rest on their laurels. Here’s a DevOps “to-do list” for 2018 that should be priorities for anyone w...
    If testing environments are constantly unavailable and affected by outages, release timelines will be affected. You can use three metrics to measure stability events for specific environments and plan around events that will affect your critical path to release.
    In a recent post, titled “10 Surprising Facts About Cloud Computing and What It Really Is”, Zac Johnson highlighted some interesting facts about cloud computing in the SMB marketplace: Cloud Computing is up to 40 times more cost-effective for an SMB, compared to running its own IT system. 94% of SMBs have experienced security benefits in the cloud that they didn’t have with their on-premises service
    DevOps failure is a touchy subject with some, because DevOps is typically perceived as a way to avoid failure. As a result, when you fail in a DevOps practice, the situation can seem almost hopeless. However, just as a fail-fast business approach, or the “fail and adjust sooner” methodology of Agile often proves, DevOps failures are actually a step in the right direction. They’re the first step toward learning from failures and turning your DevOps practice into one that will lead you toward even...
    DevOps is under attack because developers don’t want to mess with infrastructure. They will happily own their code into production, but want to use platforms instead of raw automation. That’s changing the landscape that we understand as DevOps with both architecture concepts (CloudNative) and process redefinition (SRE). Rob Hirschfeld’s recent work in Kubernetes operations has led to the conclusion that containers and related platforms have changed the way we should be thinking about DevOps and...
    While walking around the office I happened upon a relatively new employee dragging emails from his inbox into folders. I asked why and was told, “I’m just answering emails and getting stuff off my desk.” An empty inbox may be emotionally satisfying to look at, but in practice, you should never do it. Here’s why. I recently wrote a piece arguing that from a mathematical perspective, Messy Desks Are Perfectly Optimized. While it validated the genius of my friends with messy desks, it also gener...
    The goal of Microservices is to improve software delivery speed and increase system safety as scale increases. Microservices being modular these are faster to change and enables an evolutionary architecture where systems can change, as the business needs change. Microservices can scale elastically and by being service oriented can enable APIs natively. Microservices also reduce implementation and release cycle time and enables continuous delivery. This paper provides a logical overview of the Mi...
    The next XaaS is CICDaaS. Why? Because CICD saves developers a huge amount of time. CD is an especially great option for projects that require multiple and frequent contributions to be integrated. But… securing CICD best practices is an emerging, essential, yet little understood practice for DevOps teams and their Cloud Service Providers. The only way to get CICD to work in a highly secure environment takes collaboration, patience and persistence. Building CICD in the cloud requires rigorous ar...
    The enterprise data storage marketplace is poised to become a battlefield. No longer the quiet backwater of cloud computing services, the focus of this global transition is now going from compute to storage. An overview of recent storage market history is needed to understand why this transition is important. Before 2007 and the birth of the cloud computing market we are witnessing today, the on-premise model hosted in large local data centers dominated enterprise storage. Key marketplace play...
    The cloud revolution in enterprises has very clearly crossed the phase of proof-of-concepts into a truly mainstream adoption. One of most popular enterprise-wide initiatives currently going on are “cloud migration” programs of some kind or another. Finding business value for these programs is not hard to fathom – they include hyperelasticity in infrastructure consumption, subscription based models, and agility derived from rapid speed of deployment of applications. These factors will continue to...
    Some people are directors, managers, and administrators. Others are disrupters. Eddie Webb (@edwardawebb) is an IT Disrupter for Software Development Platforms at Liberty Mutual and was a presenter at the 2016 All Day DevOps conference. His talk, Organically DevOps: Building Quality and Security into the Software Supply Chain at Liberty Mutual, looked at Liberty Mutual's transformation to Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery, and DevOps. For a large, heavily regulated industry, this task ...
    Following a tradition dating back to 2002 at ZapThink and continuing at Intellyx since 2014, it’s time for Intellyx’s annual predictions for the coming year. If you’re a long-time fan, you know we have a twist to the typical annual prediction post: we actually critique our predictions from the previous year. To make things even more interesting, Charlie and I switch off, judging the other’s predictions. And now that he’s been with Intellyx for more than a year, this Cortex represents my first ...
    "Grape Up leverages Cloud Native technologies and helps companies build software using microservices, and work the DevOps agile way. We've been doing digital innovation for the last 12 years," explained Daniel Heckman, of Grape Up in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
    The Toyota Production System, a world-renowned production system is based on the "complete elimination of all waste". The "Toyota Way", grounded on continuous improvement dates to the 1860s. The methodology is widely proven to be successful yet there are still industries within and tangential to manufacturing struggling to adopt its core principles: Jidoka: a process should stop when an issue is identified prevents releasing defective products
    We seem to run this cycle with every new technology that comes along. A good idea with practical applications is born, then both marketers and over-excited users start to declare it is the solution for all or our problems. Compliments of Gartner, we know it generally as “The Hype Cycle”, but each iteration is a little different. 2018’s flavor will be serverless computing, and by 2018, I mean starting now, but going most of next year, you’ll be sick of it. We are already seeing people write such...
    Defining the term ‘monitoring’ is a difficult task considering the performance space has evolved significantly over the years. Lately, there has been a shift in the monitoring world, sparking a healthy debate regarding the definition and purpose of monitoring, through which a new term has emerged: observability. Some of that debate can be found in blogs by Charity Majors and Cindy Sridharan.
    It’s “time to move on from DevOps and continuous delivery.” This was the provocative title of a recent article in ZDNet, in which Kelsey Hightower, staff developer advocate at Google Cloud Platform, suggested that “software shops should have put these concepts into action years ago.” Reading articles like this or listening to talks at most DevOps conferences might make you think that we’re entering a post-DevOps world. But vast numbers of organizations still struggle to start and drive transfo...
    Let's do a visualization exercise. Imagine it's December 31, 2018, and you're ringing in the New Year with your friends and family. You think back on everything that you accomplished in the last year: your company's revenue is through the roof thanks to the success of your product, and you were promoted to Lead Developer. 2019 is poised to be an even bigger year for your company because you have the tools and insight to scale as quickly as demand requires. You're a happy human, and it's not just...
    "Opsani helps the enterprise adopt containers, help them move their infrastructure into this modern world of DevOps, accelerate the delivery of new features into production, and really get them going on the container path," explained Ross Schibler, CEO of Opsani, and Peter Nickolov, CTO of Opsani, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.