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Red Hat’s JBoss division is developing a service modeling technology based on a design donated to Red Hat.

Thomas Erl, founder of SOA Systems, in Vancouver, B.C., and an SOA (service-oriented architecture) expert, has agreed to contribute the design for his service modeler technology to Red Hat. It will be integrated into the Red Hat SOA platform. The technology enables users—including programmers, business analysts and project managers—to collaborate, blueprint and build services, according to Red Hat, in Raleigh, N.C.

Mark Little, technical development manager for Red Hat’s SOA platform, said Erl is donating his intellectual property to Red Hat.

Erl called the modeler “a simple tool that will allow a range of IT folks to participate and collaborate in service development. You can conceptualize and build services, and establish how services can be repeatedly reused.”

The tool is designed to be as user friendly as possible, and it enables business analysts to work together with technical experts, he said. “Because so many of the services have a business component or are business centric,” Erl said.

Erl’s modeler enables users to build up a conceptual blueprint of what your SOA should look like, he said. “It’s a tool that I’m hoping will appeal to the mainstream; any project member can pick it up and use it,” Erl said.

Little said Red Hat is coming out with a series of platforms. The company just recently released an enterprise platform based on JBoss application server. At the end of this year, Red Hat will release an SOA platform based on the JBoss ESB (enterprise service bus). Erl’s service modeler technology will become a key part of the governance solution for the JBoss SOA platform.

However, that technology will not make it into the SOA platform release scheduled for the end of the year because “we’re coming up on a cold freeze” on that release, Little said. “But in the next major release in the second quarter of 2008, I’d expect to see something of [Erl’s] invention in that release.”

Meanwhile, Erl said his invention is unique.

“From what I’ve seen, this is a bit different in that it focuses on a phase of a typical SOA life cycle that has to do with up front analysis,” he said. “Most governance tools look at the situation post-implementation. By looking at things up front, the quality of services is dramatically improved.”

Little said the governance solutions from companies that only focus on governance tend to be narrow in scope and, although many have features that overlap Erl’s technology, “nothing fits 100 percent” with Erl’s offering.

Erl said his service modeler is a vendor-agnostic technology that can be used with most any company’s SOA software. However, he chose to donate it to Red Hat “because we believed open source is the way to go with this.”

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