The jump on SOA

GCN Insider | Products & trends that affect the way government uses technology

Mainframes strike back

Forget the cheap gray box servers. If you want to do virtualization right, go with the big mainframes, according to Unisys. A study the company did found that an ES7000 ' a hulking Unisys server running 16 processors as a single system image ' can run 96 virtual machines with ease. (Virtualization is the technique of running another operating system on top of the machine's own.) In contrast, a typical server with four processors could only run 12 VMs before performance started suffering. Sure, Unisys is biased, but its numbers impress: Four boxes with four processors each barely matches half the performance of a single ES7000 running that same number of processors.

Play Time: Iona's Eric Newcomer compares Jumpstart to a sandbox for experimenting with SOA.

Agencies looking to accelerate the adoption of service-oriented architectures can find help in commercial products tailored to federal SOA.

SOA is an approach to organizational agility that enables higher interoperability and responsiveness within and between organizations. SOA allows organizations to create a set of technical services that can be rapidly deployed.
Developers can write applications that call on those services, instead of building them from scratch for every system.

Iona Technologies will soon release a development environment called Iona Federal Government Jumpstart Program, which includes a pre-configured set of open- and closed-source applications that run inside a virtual appliance.

The package consists of specific federal-use cases that come with a number of services and orchestrations that agencies can manipulate. It also includes documented code and instruction files that development teams within agencies can reproduce and customize. They can, for example, swap out Jumpstart services and replace them with their own.

Organizations are at different stages in implementing SOA, but many are just getting started, said Eric Newcomer, chief technology officer at Iona Technologies.
'It seems like a lot of people are wondering what to do to get started,' he said. Jumpstart is like a sandbox for SOA experimentation, providing users with some basic technologies with which they can start development, Newcomer said.

The sandbox gives agencies examples of how they can use Web services and SOA to create applications with a mash-up approach, Newcomer said. A mash-up is a Web site application that integrates content from more than one source.

IONA officials premiered Jumpstart Version 1 at the Service Oriented Architecture for E-Government Conference in McLean, Va., sponsored by the Federal CIO Council's SOA Community of Practice and Mitre.

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