Intel Promotes Greater Multi-Core Use Through SOA Tool

SOA Expressway is intended to speed up the conversion of large and small enterprise infrastructures to multiple, interoperable services.

Charles Babcock, Editor at Large, Cloud

June 13, 2008

3 Min Read

Intel is offering a "vendor neutral" service-oriented architecture development tool that sidesteps the need for an enterprise service bus but promises to navigate between different network protocols and application file formats.

Dubbed the SOA Expressway, Intel announced it at Gartner's Application Architecture, Development & Integration Summit this week in Orlando, Fla. "We are very agnostic about the endpoints on either side. We can be an intermediary between them," said Intel's Girish Juneja, director of SOA products.

SOA Expressway is intended to speed up the conversion of large and small enterprise infrastructures to multiple, interoperable services, regardless of the technology origin of the service. It can integrate applications or services built in Microsoft's .Net, for example, with database servers or Web server applications built in Java.

Intel terms it a soft appliance, although that means something different than VMware's software appliance. With the latter, you get an application and operating system teamed up in a file ready to run in a virtual machine. A "soft appliance," on the other hand, has nothing to do with virtualization; it's Intel's way of saying there's no hardware involved but the appliance will do its job faster than the software it replaces, something like a hardware appliance.

SOA Expressway is a general purpose tool derived from the SOA Expressway for Healthcare, a "soft appliance" aimed specifically at the applications, files, and standards of the health care industry that Intel released in April. At $75,000 per two-way server, SOA Expressway is not necessarily for the faint of heart when it comes to committing to SOA. But Juneja points out that the single price tag is all there is -- no additional charges for connecting to application servers or database servers, etc., the way fees are added to some integration products.

SOA Expressway can act as an intermediary between software islands, such as servers and applications on one network protocol that are isolated from those on another. If IT developers are connecting one application to another using XML data, SOA Express will speed up the parsing and conversion of XML from one point to the other.

It supports discovery of services based on WSDL and the WS- line of Web standards, such as WS-Security and WS-Transactions from the Oasis standards group. It also includes a Web Services Designer, a graphical development environment for creating data mappings and workflows, and Web Management Console, a browser-based administrative console to use Expressway components to set up database connections, server clusters, or network protocol adapters.

Business processes may be designed as a set of services in Web Services Designer, then given a workflow to execute in Business Process Execution Language. Intel built SOA Expressway in part for its own SOA needs. It included intelligence that knows how to take common integration tasks, such as XML processing, and spread it across a multicore Xeon chip, yielding much better performance in SOA projects than might otherwise be obtained.

Joe Natoli, Intel's platform architect for the SOA product group, said Intel will sell SOA Expressway through its own sales team until it can seed the market. Then it will offer it through resellers and system integrators. More information on SOA Expressway may be found at, Information may be requested from [email protected].

About the Author(s)

Charles Babcock

Editor at Large, Cloud

Charles Babcock is an editor-at-large for InformationWeek and author of Management Strategies for the Cloud Revolution, a McGraw-Hill book. He is the former editor-in-chief of Digital News, former software editor of Computerworld and former technology editor of Interactive Week. He is a graduate of Syracuse University where he obtained a bachelor's degree in journalism. He joined the publication in 2003.

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