Standards @ Microsoft


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Presentation given at the Microsoft UK Architect Council Meeting at Bletchley Park

Presented by John Phillips

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Standards @ Microsoft

  1. 1. Standards and software – combining innovation and interoperability John A. Phillips – UK National Standards Officer 8th June 2009
  2. 2. Contents • The challenges and opportunities • Learning the interoperability lesson from telecoms standardization • Dealing with innovation in software • Standards and interoperability at Microsoft
  3. 3. A time of change • This is a time of change. Today our customers have diverse and complex needs that no single IT company alone can address. • Increasing globalization, rising Internet use, and higher consumer and businesses expectations are driving increased demand for technology choices and flexibility. • Technology can present new opportunities and solve new problems. Today, many governments and businesses alike have assembled a diverse mix of applications and technologies from a variety of vendors operating in mixed IT environments.
  4. 4. The challenges and opportunities • Right now we are seeing customers demand solutions to more complex problems. Technical interoperability is usually achieved but being augmented by new requirements for semantic, organizational and political interoperability requirements. • Thus the biggest challenge faced today is in constructing system solutions requiring end-to-end interoperability with – Multiple components from multiple vendors – Room for innovation in platforms and applications – Licensed or open-source software – Capacity to cope with rapid development – In-house hosted systems, or in the cloud – Data preserving its meaning over time and across domains – ... • Interoperability = Choice
  5. 5. Telecoms: the PSTN, standards and interoperability • Although the ITU itself dates back to 18651, the formal standardization processes are more recent. • Two consultative committees were created by the ITU’s 1925 Paris conference to deal with the complexities of the international telephone services (known as CCIF, as the French acronym) and long-distance telegraphy (CCIT)2. • In view of the basic similarity of many of the technical problems faced by the CCIF and CCIT, a decision was taken in 1956 to merge them to become the single International Telegraph and Telephone Consultative Committee (CCITT, in the French acronym) 2. – 1 – 2 (p8)
  6. 6. Telecoms: newer telecommunication systems • As a result of decades of work on standards the telephone network became the world’s biggest multi- domain, multi-vendor machine and very reliable – but it has a very simple service model and so the semantic issues are simple to deal with. • Newer systems such as GSM, 3G and 4G wireless systems have had to use better standardization and testing regimes to achieve world-wide interoperability and reliability in a much shorter time; and they are tackling the key issue of new and innovative services and their interoperability.
  7. 7. Telecoms: new tools for ensuring interoperability in new systems • Test suites for conformance • AND test suites for interoperability – they’re not the same • AND formal methods built in to the standard to assist with conformance and interoperability testing • AND feedback to the standard from the interoperability testing
  8. 8. Attacking interoperability in telecoms standards (the ETSI process) • ETSI’s initiatives to achieve interoperability – Technical Committee Methods for Testing and Specification (MTS) • Based on ISO/EC 9646 • Defining most advanced test frameworks and test methodologies – Centre for Testing and Interoperability (CTI) • Efficient and systematic Test Specification Development • Customized Test Services • Specialist Task Forces – Plugtests service to perform interoperability testing
  9. 9. ETSI interoperability testing • Plugtests, also known as bake-off (at IETF), plugfests and interop: – Provides feedback to the standardization process – Helps to ensure end users’ satisfaction – Improves both quality and features of implementations – Accelerates time to market via quick product debugging
  10. 10. Interop testing session (ETSI)
  11. 11. What about innovation? • Innovation and interoperability can sometimes sit uncomfortably together but they can be made compatible. • But there are techniques in standards-writing: – Rules for writing standards to allow innovation without causing mis-operation – Rules for implementing these techniques (often need to be understood by implementers if they are not explicitly written as part of the standard) • Software standards writers can build in a protected corner in their standards for private experiments on innovative services.
  12. 12. Software – the challenge • The software industry is much younger and has yet to grapple with – More complex systems with more potential for major customer dissatisfaction – More innovative development model – Becoming as critical to enterprises and to society as the telephone networks – More difficulty building the bridge between product planning and standards • Formal methods are largely absent from standardization and there’s limited interop. Testing • IETF has successfully used interoperability testing for small systems, but today we have forthcoming semantic, organizational and political problems coming ... – NGN/SOA – a software version of the PSTN – e-Health, e-Government, ...
  13. 13. Software – the first steps • Need to address interoperability and innovation in an increasingly multi-vendor world and MS is doing this. • MS bringing maturity to software standards by focussing on interoperability: external standards engagement team; internal product engagement team; under the same organization to connect the two.
  14. 14. Interoperability in Microsoft Engagement Product Plans Interop V-Teams Plans Standards Germany, Japan, France, U K, India, Brussels, LATAM, Team U.S., Canada, APAC, China, Standards CEE, WE, MEA Counseling Global Input Business Groups Execution Customers Direct BG and Interop Team Engagement Governments Standards bodies
  15. 15. Microsoft standards team • External engagement team – With Standards Development Organizations – to contribute our expertise and monitor global trends • Internal engagement team – With products – to build in product cycle interoperability planning from the very start • Working together under the same leadership to make the connection
  16. 16. Microsoft is ... • Committed to weaving interoperability into the fabric of the company, and also through a collaborative approach with different communities, government and standards bodies • Committed to making software standards mature enough with suitable tools to ensure high-reliability interoperability in an innovative multi-vendor environment
  17. 17. Q&A
  18. 18. Abstract • The vibrancy and innovation of the software industry is incredible. It has created the modern tools needed by competitive enterprises. But raw innovation in the modern multi-vendor, multi-domain environment can challenge interoperability as implementers interpret standards in different ways. • The advanced software architect needs to combine innovation and interoperability in complex systems to keep customers happy. • This session will explore the challenges today’s standardisers in the software domain may face in building a standardizing capability for system-wide interoperability.