In a bid to improve its enterprise credentials, Microsoft Corp has tapped Platinum Technology Inc to port and distribute its Repository software on to third party platforms, including Unix, MVS and AS/400, to which Platinum will exclusive marketing rights. Microsoft’s aim is to enable developers to write applications that can be deployed across multiple systems: it’ll allow large workgroups to share software components and provide interoperability between Microsoft and third party development tools, it said. In addition, Platinum can also license the Repository for use on all databases which run on Windows and NT. Microsoft and Platinum will extend the Repository to make it more attractive to developers by creating a single Open Information Model from the multiple currently in use, to provide a consistent data storage and component architecture and add interfaces to enable programmers to use tools from multiple vendors. They’re creating a pseudo-standards process by having some 70-odd companies review the designs tomorrow. The new Open Information Model will incorporate Microsoft’s database schema information model, the industry-standard Unified Modeling Language and the Microsoft COM Component Object Model. The Repository will be extended to distributed environments by the addition of Distributed COM in a future release and Microsoft says it’ll interoperate with Platinum and third party developer tools which utilize OMG Corba specifications through its support for Hewlett- Packard Co’s proposed for DCOM-to-Corba interoperability mechanism.
Vendors line up in support
Microsoft has also licensed the Repository to 25 vendors which will embed it in their application development tools including Sybase, Cap Gemini, Rational Software, Forte Software, Compuware and SAS. While greater interoperability between developer products and the use of common repository technologies should be a boon for developers trying to create multi-platform applications, observers remind us that it was the participation of three ISV partners – or lack of it – which destroyed IBM’s first repository vision, AD/Cycle. Although Platinum claims to control a significant portion of the market for repositories which store information about application components for re-use – it says 400 of the Fortune 1000 customers use its repository – it will merge its own offering with Redmond’s model over time and has sent some of its 90 repository engineers to Redmond to work on the new designs and interfaces. Platinum says the repository will be integrated with its POEMS Platinum Open Enterprise Management System by year-end. POEMS is currently out at beta test sites. Platinum’s involvement supersedes the role of Microsoft’s original Repository design partner, Texas Instruments Software, which is now part of Sterling Software. We suppose that if the thing whole goes belly-up hen at least Microsoft can blame someone else. It’s not clear if TI Software has any role in the Repository’s future other than as a licensee, but during their design work TI Software reportedly won the right to sell the Repository on non-Microsoft platforms. Microsoft and Platinum will be selling the Repository in competition with IBM Corp’s DataGuide and plan to take advantage of the delay to Oracle Corp’s Sedona product. Other repositories include Softlab GmbH’s Enabler and ViaSoft Corp’s R&O Rochade. Following its agreement with Platinum, we wonder whether Microsoft will apply the same model to give some of its other technologies a leg-up into the enterprise.