The Diary of a Fence-sitting SOA Geek


                    Dr Mark Little
       Technical Development Manager, Red Hat
Background

• Research into fault-tolerant distributed systems
  since 1986
      – Arjuna, Argus, Isis/Horus, Emerald, Xe...
Overview
• Evolution of distributed systems
   – 40 years in 5 minutes
• WS-* and REST/HTTP
   – Apples and Oranges, or Ap...
The debate

• No REST bashing
      – We all know that REST/HTTP is just one approach to REST
• No WS-* bashing
      – An...
Back to the future?




5                         Red Hat
January 1st 1951

• Dear diary
      – John next door has a computer-thingy called UNIVAC
          • Not sure what he exp...
January 1st 1962

• Dear diary
      – I just got a computer. These things are a lot smaller and
        faster than they ...
January 1st 1969

•   Dear diary
        – Today we created ARPANet
        – Managed to connect 4 computers together on a...
January 1st 1970 (The Epoch!)

•   Dear diary
        – Invented Remote Procedure Call (RPC)
        – First used in Unix ...
January 1st 1990

 • Dear diary
     – A physicist has created something called the World Wide
       Web
        • What d...
January 1st 1999

 • Dear diary
     – Invented Web Services
         • Users want to glue together existing distributed s...
January 1st 2005

 • Dear diary
     – Spent the last 5 years going backwards to distribution
       transparency
        ...
Distributed Systems

 • Web Services, WWW, CORBA, DCOM, …
     – All examples of distributed systems
 • Same fundamental l...
Different approaches

 •   Event Driven Architectures
     – Pub/Sub
 •   Service Oriented Architectures
 •   Resource Ori...
Tightly coupled

 • Client and server technologies based on RPC
     – Hide distribution
     – Make remote service invoca...
Stub example



         Node X       Node Y




          CSO       SSO    O



         Client      Server
         Proc...
SOA in a nutshell

 • SOA is an architectural style to achieve loose
   coupling
     – A service is a unit of work done b...
Achieving loose coupling

 • SOA employs two architectural constraints
     – A small set of simple and ubiquitous interfa...
But …

 • At the one extreme
     – Defining specific service interfaces, akin to IDL
         • Easier to reason about the ...
The message and stack




20                           Red Hat
Service stack example



            Work dispatcher

           Manage non-
           functional data

           Routin...
What are the pros and cons?

 • The same requirements are present throughout
   the stack
     – Split differently between...
REST/HTTP in a nutshell

 •   Original HTTP specification talked about adding new
     commands
     – GET only in 0.9
    ...
Not machine driven?

 • Often stated that REST/HTTP is only suitable for
   hypertext
     – “Because thatʼs the way the m...
What about Web Services?

 • Popular integration approach
     – XML
     – HTTP
         • Other transport bindings are p...
Enterprise realities

 • Customers want interoperability of
   heterogeneous systems
 • They want guaranteed delivery of m...
WS-* Architecture




27                       Red Hat
Standards

 • The Web is a series of standards
     – URIs
     – HTTP
     – HTML
 • Universal adoption has to count for ...
Transaction example

 • REST transactions by HP in 2000
     – Yes, customers want to coordinate business interactions,
  ...
However …

 • WS-* has driven protocol interoperability
     – More so than CORBA, DCE, Java
 • Native data and protocol b...
Zen and the art of [R..S]OA

 • Are all entities in a distributed system services?
 • Are they all resources?
 • Why canʼt...
REST or (SOA?)WS-*?

 •   SOAP/HTTP
     – WS-* vendors have spent a lot of time ensuring it integrates with
       legacy...
What can REST learn from WS-*?

 • Uniform interface isnʼt enough for complex
   application requirements
     – Standardi...
What can WS-* learn from REST?

 • Donʼt abuse transports, they donʼt like it!
 • Adopt SOA principles
     – No more WS-R...
The combination

 • WS-* used within the firewall
     – REST principles could still help
     – SOAP is not fast!
 • REST/...
13th March 2008

 • What have we learnt from the last 40 years?
     – One size does not fit all!
     – Use the right tool...
Conclusions

 • WS-* and REST/HTTP arenʼt perfect
     – But what is (DCOM, DCE, CORBA, JavaRMI, …)?
 • R&D on large scale...
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Mark Little Fence Sitting Soa Geek

  1. 1. The Diary of a Fence-sitting SOA Geek Dr Mark Little Technical Development Manager, Red Hat
  2. 2. Background • Research into fault-tolerant distributed systems since 1986 – Arjuna, Argus, Isis/Horus, Emerald, Xerox, … – DCE, DCOM, CORBA, JavaRMI, HTTP, Web Services, … • Active in OMG, OASIS, W3C, JCP, GGF and others • Involved with Web Services since 1999 – Co-author of a number of WS-* specifications and standards • Involved with REST/HTTP since at least 2000 – W3Objects 2 Red Hat
  3. 3. Overview • Evolution of distributed systems – 40 years in 5 minutes • WS-* and REST/HTTP – Apples and Oranges, or Apples and Broccoli? • Where should you start? – Donʼt panic! • Lessons learned – And re-learnt • Donʼt believe Snake-oil Salesmen – On both sides of the divide! 3 Red Hat
  4. 4. The debate • No REST bashing – We all know that REST/HTTP is just one approach to REST • No WS-* bashing – And specifically no WSDL bashing please • These types of debate have raged throughout history – BetaMax vs VHS – Blu-Ray vs HD-DVD – England vs France – MacDonalds vs BurgerKing • Hybrid systems are the norm – Very few places can afford to rip-n-replace 4 Red Hat
  5. 5. Back to the future? 5 Red Hat
  6. 6. January 1st 1951 • Dear diary – John next door has a computer-thingy called UNIVAC • Not sure what he expects to be able to do with it. It’s a bit big! • Apparently it’s good at math! – International Business Machines think the world will only need a handful of them • And that punch cards are the way of the future 6 Red Hat
  7. 7. January 1st 1962 • Dear diary – I just got a computer. These things are a lot smaller and faster than they used to be (I can put a desk in the same room!) – Spacewars developed in 200 hours on PDP-1 – Jim and I decided to try to connect his computer with mine • We spent about 4 months getting the wires connected, checked and working 7 Red Hat
  8. 8. January 1st 1969 • Dear diary – Today we created ARPANet – Managed to connect 4 computers together on a network • UCLA • Stanford Research Institute • UC Santa Barbara • University of Utah – Heterogeneity is a real pain! – I canʼt see this scaling! • Update – Invented email – Can send simple messages (1971) – Invented telnet (1972) – Invented FTP (1973) 8 Red Hat
  9. 9. January 1st 1970 (The Epoch!) • Dear diary – Invented Remote Procedure Call (RPC) – First used in Unix back in the 1970ʼs to aid distributed development • Try to make distribution opaque • Leverage a well known pattern: local procedure calls – Invented UDP and TCP • RPC is NOT dead – Neither is it pining for the fjords – Integrated Systems Architecture (ISA), Open Network Computing (ONC), the Open Software Foundation Distributed Computing Environment (OSF/DCE), the Object Management Group Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA), DCOM, J(2)EE 9 Red Hat
  10. 10. January 1st 1990 • Dear diary – A physicist has created something called the World Wide Web • What does he know compared to us Computer Scientists?! Hypertext? Hypercard maybe! • It’ll never catch on! 10 Red Hat
  11. 11. January 1st 1999 • Dear diary – Invented Web Services • Users want to glue together existing distributed systems • The firewall vendors won’t open up to CORBA or DCOM, so we’ll show them! – HTTP is a useful transport after all 11 Red Hat
  12. 12. January 1st 2005 • Dear diary – Spent the last 5 years going backwards to distribution transparency • It feels like 1970 all over again! 12 Red Hat
  13. 13. Distributed Systems • Web Services, WWW, CORBA, DCOM, … – All examples of distributed systems • Same fundamental laws – Develop “entity” • Define the UOW it supports – Search for “entity” • Agree “entity” offers the desired capability or UOW – Request “entity” to perform UOW • Create a network-transferable message • Send the message – Maybe try to make the remote interaction appear local – Maybe do some “enterprise” work as well • Security, transactions, replication etc. 13 Red Hat
  14. 14. Different approaches • Event Driven Architectures – Pub/Sub • Service Oriented Architectures • Resource Oriented Architectures • Message Oriented Architectures – MOM – Pub/Sub • Tuple Spaces – E.g., Linda • RPC based • Synchronous or asynchronous • Group communication based – Reliable or unreliable • There is no such thing as a global panacea! 14 Red Hat
  15. 15. Tightly coupled • Client and server technologies based on RPC – Hide distribution – Make remote service invocation look the same as local component invocation • Unfortunately this leads to tightly coupled applications – Changes to the IDL require re-generation of stubs • And dissemination of new code • Or errors will occur during interactions – Such applications can be brittle • Hard to control the infrastructure as needed • No quiescent period 15 Red Hat
  16. 16. Stub example Node X Node Y CSO SSO O Client Server Process Process 16 Red Hat
  17. 17. SOA in a nutshell • SOA is an architectural style to achieve loose coupling – A service is a unit of work done by a service provider to achieve desired end results for a consumer • SOA is deliberately not prescriptive about what happens behind service endpoints – We are only concerned with the transfer of structured data between parties • SOA turns business functions into services that can be reused and accessed through standard interfaces. – Should be accessible through different applications over a variety of channels 17 Red Hat
  18. 18. Achieving loose coupling • SOA employs two architectural constraints – A small set of simple and ubiquitous interfaces to all participating software agents. Only generic semantics are encoded at the interfaces. The interfaces should be universally available for all providers and consumers • Yes, it’s often based on specific interfaces for each service • But does not need to be – Descriptive messages constrained by an extensible schema delivered through the interfaces. No, or only minimal, system behavior is prescribed by messages. A schema limits the vocabulary and structure of messages. An extensible schema allows new versions of services to be introduced without breaking existing services • Sounds vaguely REST-like 18 Red Hat
  19. 19. But … • At the one extreme – Defining specific service interfaces, akin to IDL • Easier to reason about the service • Limits the amount of freedom in changing the implementation • At the other extreme – Single operation (e.g., doWork) • More flexibility is changing the implementation – Well, almost … • More difficult to determine service functionality a priori – Need more service metadata • There are degrees of coupling and you should choose the level that is right for you – Not specific to distributed systems 19 Red Hat
  20. 20. The message and stack 20 Red Hat
  21. 21. Service stack example Work dispatcher Manage non- functional data Routing validator (e.g., object present?) Message listener Network 21 Red Hat
  22. 22. What are the pros and cons? • The same requirements are present throughout the stack – Split differently between the infrastructure and the “application” • Uniform interface allows for generic infrastructural support – Caching, extremely loose coupling – Can push more requirements on to the “developer” – Requires more from external contract meta-data • Specific interface allows for more limited generic support – Targeted caching, application semantics – Impacts less on the “developer” but may cost in terms of flexibility 22 Red Hat
  23. 23. REST/HTTP in a nutshell • Original HTTP specification talked about adding new commands – GET only in 0.9 – GET, HEAD, POST, extension-method in 1.0 – Now we have up to 8 different verbs • Changes to “interface” occur but users aren’t affected • Many good distributed systems approaches – Dynamic content negotiation – Caching – Scalability • It is NOT a transport 23 Red Hat
  24. 24. Not machine driven? • Often stated that REST/HTTP is only suitable for hypertext – “Because thatʼs the way the majority of the Web works” • Weak argument – Itʼs still a distributed system based on resources – OK, humans fill in the “gaps” in contract definition – Extra infrastructure support could help • Anyone remember URN name servers (1994/1995)? • Not enough “application” standards – Good point • Lack of good tooling – JAX-RS, WCF, … 24 Red Hat
  25. 25. What about Web Services? • Popular integration approach – XML – HTTP • Other transport bindings are possible • Developed with machine-to-machine interactions in mind • Not specific to SOA – Web Services began life as CORBA-over-HTTP – XML-RPC – WS-RF and WS-Addressing • Web Services+SOA gives benefits – Loose coupling – Interoperability – Enterprise capabilities, e.g., security and transactions 25 Red Hat
  26. 26. Enterprise realities • Customers want interoperability of heterogeneous systems • They want guaranteed delivery of messages – Even in the presence of failures such as network partitions • They want transactions – NOT ACID transactions! • They need audit trails – Sarbanes-Oxley anyone? • They need bullet-proof security – Sarbanes-Oxley • They need machine-readable contracts with SLAs 26 Red Hat
  27. 27. WS-* Architecture 27 Red Hat
  28. 28. Standards • The Web is a series of standards – URIs – HTTP – HTML • Universal adoption has to count for something! • REST/HTTP is ubiquitous – Communication interoperability, which is a good start • Also why WS-* standardised on HTTP – But application semantic interoperability is not there (yet) • Take a minimum of 5 years to do • But … 28 Red Hat
  29. 29. Transaction example • REST transactions by HP in 2000 – Yes, customers want to coordinate business interactions, even if only atomically • http://<machine>/transaction-coordinator Performing a GET returns a list of all transactions know to the coordinator (active and recovery) • http://<machine>/transaction- coordinator/begin?<ClientID> Performing a PUT will start a new transaction and return a URL /transaction-coordinator/<id> 29 Red Hat
  30. 30. However … • WS-* has driven protocol interoperability – More so than CORBA, DCE, Java • Native data and protocol bridging • Clearly defined semantics for transactions, security, reliable messaging – Not specific to HTTP 30 Red Hat
  31. 31. Zen and the art of [R..S]OA • Are all entities in a distributed system services? • Are they all resources? • Why canʼt we mix-and-match? – In fact, isnʼt a service a resource? – Isnʼt an object a resource? • Before ROA and SOA there were just distributed systems – Distributed-Oriented Computing? DOC? (EDOC) – Internet-Oriented Computing? IOC • What about the Intranet? • And a lot of work on scalability, fault tolerance etc. 31 Red Hat
  32. 32. REST or (SOA?)WS-*? • SOAP/HTTP – WS-* vendors have spent a lot of time ensuring it integrates with legacy systems • How many people remember that WS-* is supposed to also be about Internet scale computing? – Thatʼs important for out-of-the-box and interoperable deployments – But REST as a general architectural approach has merits even in SOA • REST/HTTP has “simplicity” and (relative) ease of use – No vendor-lockin at the infrastructure level – Is precisely for Internet scale computing as well – Remember that a lot of cool Web applications arenʼt RESTful 32 Red Hat
  33. 33. What can REST learn from WS-*? • Uniform interface isnʼt enough for complex application requirements – Standardise on the application protocol semantics – Ad hoc does not scale and leads to interoperability nightmares • Popularise using HTTP outside of the browser – Yes, there are examples and implementations, but they are the exception to the rule • Just because the Web “works” is not sufficient reason to assume itʼs right for everything – When was the last time you rode a horse to work? 33 Red Hat
  34. 34. What can WS-* learn from REST? • Donʼt abuse transports, they donʼt like it! • Adopt SOA principles – No more WS-RF please! – Adopt WS-Context in favour of WS-Addressing “extensions” • Late binding is good – But extremely late binding can be a burden • KISS and make up – Occams Razor • Infrastructure support for common services/resources simplifies development • The Web uses HTTP 34 Red Hat
  35. 35. The combination • WS-* used within the firewall – REST principles could still help – SOAP is not fast! • REST/HTTP for between firewalls – HTTP is not for performance – Improved application protocol standards • Get the bridging between WS-* and REST/HTTP right – Leverage all of HTTP where possible – Definitely not easy to do, but … • WS-* between firewalls? – Unlikely to see massive adoption 35 Red Hat
  36. 36. 13th March 2008 • What have we learnt from the last 40 years? – One size does not fit all! – Use the right tool for the right job • If all you’ve got is a hammer then of course everything looks like a nail! 36 Red Hat
  37. 37. Conclusions • WS-* and REST/HTTP arenʼt perfect – But what is (DCOM, DCE, CORBA, JavaRMI, …)? • R&D on large scale distributed systems began in the late 80ʼs and early 90ʼs – Started before the Web • E.g., EU Broadcast and Cabernet projects – Addressed many of the same areas • But had no good use cases! • Was seen as too esoteric! • The Web is here to stay! – It is a deployment platform for “enterprise” applications – It is an “enterprise” service bus 37 Red Hat
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