Let me introduce you to EasySOA Registry, an open, agile and non-instrusive governance solution for service-oriented Information Systems. In broad strokes, it acts as IT’s control tower and health dashboard, thanks to features such as automated extraction of existing services and being adaptable to technologies and practices in place. At its heart, an open Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) model crosses all layers of an IT project (specifications, development and deployment) and allows you to put them back together. Most importantly, it puts actors back in the middle through a collaborative approach, provides them with a multiple point of view and emphasizes documentation.

EasySOA - Home and Main FeaturesEasySOA - Home and Main Features

Business-specific document management, preview and browsing User Interface? Tree versioning system? Generic and specific REST API? The newly released EasySOA Registry 2.0 IT service governance solution does all that with the Nuxeo Platform and more.

Here I’ll stray from document management for a moment. I promise you won’t see the standard pitch. I’m R&D leader at Open Wide, a French open source software and systems service provider. Aside from developing open source business solutions for our customers - a good part being document management-centric (using Nuxeo Platform of course!), we integrate them with other customer applications, up to designing and implementing whole IT architectures. Buzzwords here are ESB (Enterprise Service Bus), BPM (Business Process Management) and SOA (Service Oriented Architecture).

The idea of EasySOA was born out of our experience in customer projects such as those mentioned above. We saw that service-oriented, content services architecture is often restricted to its technical elements, which are certainly complex but still manageable once well packaged, when its actual goal is really to help business get the most value out of IT. This starts by getting out of the technology ghetto and getting other actors and business users involved. The perfect tool for this job would be a collaborative solution. Lucky for us we know this kind of beast well! For the record, we have actually sold one to a French Brittany bank to help manage IT documentation.

Here’s where the Nuxeo Platform comes in.

Think about it for a minute: service reuse, API management, process management, software directory - it’s all first and foremost about documenting how they work. Sure, each of them is a different need that’s tooled by different solutions, but there is a need for a solution at the center of them all, not to manage them, but to make the most of them together. Most small IT departments don’t even have them. We’ve made it so that EasySOA can be the simplest and most valuable answer. I’m talking about its various service discovery mechanisms, but also about its extensions and probes that plug directly into common existing tools: the web browser, Maven build system, SOAPUI service testing, Eclipse development environment, etc.

We have been frustrated by existing service registry solutions that only target a given SOA platform. This is not surprising though, since both are made by the same software vendor. But it goes against the fact that heterogenity is a mainstay of service-oriented Information Systems. We came up with the solution from previous R&D work: an open SOA model that could be enriched to support any kind of SOA standard or platform.

And there you have it - EasySOA Registry: Nuxeo as semi-structured content storage for the open SOA model, but also as the foundation of a solution dedicated to collaborate and document it; various probes to discover and extract existing services, talking to the registry through its REST API; and a custom web user interface to get the most knowledge out of said model and tie all features together.

Documentation and Collaboration : here's Nuxeo familiar interfaceDocumentation and Collaboration : here’s Nuxeo familiar interface

In addition, we built on our network of R&D and open source community partners to offer a full range of compatible solutions for IT from Business Process design using our own Eclipse Java Workflow Tooling, to monitoring using Bull’s OW2 Jasmine, via middleware using the Talend service bus for the heavy lifting and Inria’s OW2 FraSCAti and its Studio for lighter, “glue” and fast prototyping needs.

You’ve just seen that Open Wide didn’t do it alone, far from it. Actually, together with all those partners (Talend, Bull, Inria, plus Nuxeo obviously, and the startup EasiFab, we’ve been sponsored by the [email protected] Paris competitivity cluster for Open Source, and funded by Oseo and Région Ile de France with a 4m euros budget for 2010-2012. It’s been an exciting journey with people passionate about their solutions. On the Nuxeo side for instance, I’m pretty proud that EasySOA has been able to enrich the Nuxeo Platform with tree versioning and Talend connectors.

But the project didn’t end there. Going from R&D to actual users is a challenging path. It started by making visible all the valuable information that the registry contains in the most concise and to the point way: indicators, graphs, portal… Now we’re in contacts with various companies, some of them having followed us for some time, where EasySOA could be adapted to fit their specific needs in order to enrich its coverage.

Today, we use it ourselves. For our customers, we find it very useful to automate extraction of the service architecture “iceberg” and make it visible to its actors. Especially when we’re brought in on projects in a bad state.

Now we’re focused on business development. This month we’ve published our offering. Early feedback about our recent 2.0 release is great. But we’ve got further plans for the future such as more REST APIs, closer to the Cloud and with a true answer to the security risks it brings.