As Service Oriented Architectures proliferate, vendors will realize they have to develop a master metadata management system to handle the different registeries.
This may sound like an advantageous outcome and something to look forward to: all of the suggestion boxes filled to the brim. But it's not; at least it won't be until SOA vendors apply a few lessons learned from master data management vendors.
As registries are leveraged more as central repositories, and as the repositories within independent tools (like modelers or process orchestrators or development IDEs) store more valuable metadata in their own right, SOA practitioners will quickly come up against a metadata validity problem: Where is the master record for a given process? Which representation is the truth?
Certainly federation and synchronization via XMI (XML interchange) will go a long way toward moving metadata among these individual registries. And the registry interoperability standard, Universal Description Discovery and Integration 3.0, understands the notion of root and affiliate registries. These standards and techniques will not, however, ensure that the representation of a given process in any given repository is correct or even which representation is the master record.
To do that, you need a master metadata model, a persistent master metadata store (which could be a central registry) and a mechanism to, of course, federate, consolidate, and propagate metadata. This would comprise a master metadata management system -- sadly, a system that has yet to be invented.
Thankfully, many SOA vendors including BEA Systems, IBM, Oracle, Progress Software, SAP, and Tibco Software actively are integrating master data management solutions with their SOA software. Right now that integration focuses only on data, but it's only a matter of time before these vendors realize the need to apply master metadata management using the same techniques as master data management in support of the many registries employed in a typical SOA solution.
When that happens, the local bishop won't mind seeing all the suggestion boxes in his parish filled to the brim, since he'll only need to open and read the comments in one box.
Brad Shimmin is a principal analyst covering application infrastructure with Current Analysis.
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