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As part of ebizQ's Open Source Software (OSS) "Talking to …" series, I spoke recently with Paul Fremantle, currently co-chair of the OASIS Web Services Reliable eXchange Technical Committee as well as VP, Technical Sales, at wso2. (I am going to use the latter typographical approach when naming his company rather than subscripting the 2.)

wso2 (wso2.com) is a leader in the Apache Synapse project and recently brought its own enterprise service bus (ESB) to market as a result of that Apache contribution/commitment. wso2 also markets an application server at revision 2, a C library for web services, a beta of PHP extensions for web services, and an alpha-stage mashup server. The products are available under the Apache license of course. wso2 makes its money offering a range of service and support options that include consulting, custom development, and sponsorship of OSS feature development, development and production support, and training. The company is backed by Intel Capital and maintains operations in the United States, the UK and Sri Lanka.

The operative words in the wso2 products description above were "web services," the "ws" in the company name. The "O2 " idea in the name indicates that the company is breathing life into the market (even as it drives spell checker programs crazy). wso2's products are designed to handle web services, a characteristic others-including me-might suggest is limiting, but one that keeps the code lightweight and optimized for working across the web as opposed to across Intranets. With the ESB, wso2 says throttling, load balancing and failover controls help to ensure availability and to manage and maintain service-level agreements (SLAs), a key ingredient in my definition of a service oriented architecture (SOA).

It was the SLA reference in a June press release (www.ebizq.net/blogs/open_source/2007/06/first_apache_synapsebased_prod.php) that caught my eye and got me to look Paul up. Forgetting the open source software (OSS) connection for a minute, these guys have the concept of service in SOA nailed.

Of course they didn't just fall out of the sky with these revelations. Company chairman and CEO Sanjiva Weerawarana spent nearly 8 years in IBM Research in the 1990s, after coming out of academia (on the professorship side, not just the student side). At IBM, he co-authored many Web services specifications including WSDL, BPEL4WS, WS-Addressing, WS-RF and WS-Eventing. Sanjiva is currently a member of the W3C Web Service Description Working Group where he is a co-editor of the specification. In recognition for his work on IBM's web services strategy, Sanjiva was elected to the IBM Academy of Technology in 2003. Some might think him ungrateful but rather than rest on that laurel, he left IBM in 2005 and founded wso2.


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