Thursday, May 04, 2006

2nd Crack at rating the vendors...

First time round to be honest its all just text so how does that help, so this time round I've gone for pictures. Odds are that once I start doing more evals (JavaOne is coming up so hopefully a bit of time to find out more details and understand more about the strategies) that this stuff might change, but its my current view.

The ratings are based on six different criteria
  1. IT Vision - What are they going to do in IT, implementation of applications, integration with backends, sort of the technical end of SOA
  2. IT Implementation - Great powerpoints guys, but what about the products...
  3. Business Vision - What are the doing for the business, what is the content and how will it work for the business
  4. Business Implementation - as before, what exists beyond the powerpoints
  5. Standards - SOA implementation is massively about standards, how much does this company implement and drive standards
  6. Stability - How stable is the current product set and roadmap, will they be shifting strategy and leaving you in the lurch, or going out of business and doing the same
Marks are given as percentages, this is basically how complete that element is. N.B. This doesn't mean this is their percentage for 2008, just for 2006, if they stand still the percentages would go down.

So to start with, and with six criteria, I've gone for six companies. IBM, SAP, Oracle, Microsoft, BEA and Sun. So how do they rate?

Bit hard to read on one diagram I know, so here is a quick over view with the pictures for each of the companies broken out.

IBM have really cracked on around the technical elements of SOA, decent products, good strategy, trouble is its pretty much all about the technology, the business vision gets as far as business process modeling but it isn't an SOA vision.

Since IBM have come clean(ish) around J2EE being their strategic direction you can be pretty confident that if you pick products on the J2EE stack from IBM then you should be okay.

Oracle have come a massive distance in the past few years, from a database company who did rubbish integration, to a decent middleware company. IT wise its getting there, integration is still a bit weak and they have to integrate the various purchases into a single suite, but its an impressive start.
Business wise they have the advantage of having business applications, so they understand that there is a business, as well as technical, angle to SOA, but product wise its very early.
Again its J2EE as the base and a solid base of products that should evolve rather than being replaced.


SAP started a year or so later than Oracle down the road but again progress has been impressive, but not as evolved as Oracle yet, paticularly beyond SAPs traditional comfort zones. Definitely have a clear vision of the future with ESA and have really embraced the standards, and with their massive business content its a vision not just for technology but for business. Again a stable base in J2EE and a clearly emerging product stack based around that, which doesn't appear to be looking for major change, just major evolution.


Microsoft are, IMO, the weakest of the bunch, waiting for Longhorn server is just a killer for SOA development, both technical and from a business perspective. Microsoft Dynamics might help them develop that business vision, and they do have motion which puts them ahead of most others in terms of actually thinking about the more pure business side of this. Stability wise the current flagship products are all going to go through pretty major revisions in the next few years, key elements such as the difference between Windows Workflow and BizTalk and the new technologies such as DSI and DSL have great potential, but are a long way away from enterprise ready. Woeful standards support, e.g. the lack of BPEL upgrade in BizTalk 2006


The only company, at the moment, to have a clear differentiation between their technical (WebLogic) and Business (AquaLogic) product sets they've as ever been towards the edge of developing new technologies and approaches. Challenges such as the lack of BPEL support are being solved via buying companies, so the challenge of stability is how they will bring all these products together, its a firm base but the edges are a bit blurred. From a business implementation perspective they really need to raise the game around the modeling side, and these products are all new (within the BEA brand)

Sun, well they now have a Software division with decent products after the purchase of SeeBeyond which gives them a firm base around IT. Nothing around the business side of note as yet, and a concern around the stability of their roadmap, will it be SeeBeyond evolution or will there be some more dramatic changes.

Don't know, but 12 months ago Sun would have rated worse than Microsoft.

So that is how I see it right now with these six vendors, I'll start having a hands on and eval around the other products out there (any requests appreciated), and also what would be a sensible sectorisation of the SOA marketplace to see who really plays where and what are the biggest gaps (e.g. nobody really does Business modeling, only Microsoft have made an attempt).


Anonymous said...

How about a quick comparison on ServiceMix/LogicBlaze? Let's see how open source stacks up.

Neil Ward-Dutton said...

Great stuff Steve! You've said what we've said in probably 0.1% of the words...

If you weren't earning probably 5x as much as we could afford I'd humbly ask you if you wanted a job at MWD... :-)

Anonymous said...

What about TIBCO & WemMethods ..???