DCOM-based Viper to challenge OMG's Object Transaction Service (InfoWorld)

Rohit Khare (khare@w3.org)
Fri, 01 Nov 1996 22:49:25 -0500

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On the other hand, analysts say not to count on Viper until '98-99.

There's a nugget of something here; obviously Infospheres thinks it has
it, but I'm not so sure.


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DCOM-based Viper to challenge OMG's Object Transaction Service [Imag=

By Ted Smalley Bowen [Imag=
InfoWorld Electric

Posted at 2:09 PM PT, Nov 1, 1996 [Imag=
As Microsoft Corp. begins to take the wraps off the application
development services it intends to provide on top of its [Imag=
distributed component model, the biggest challenge facing the
company in 1997 will be to overcome a number of rival products [Imag=
being developed using standards promoted by the Object
Management Group (OMG). [Imag=

The first tangible Microsoft tool to emerge in this space will
be the Microsoft Transaction Server, code-named Viper, which [Imag=
will be shown at the company's Professional Developer's
Conference beginning Monday in Long Beach, Calif. [Imag=

Based on top of Microsoft's Distributed Component Object Model [Imag=
(DCOM) architecture, Transaction Server is being positioned
against products from companies such as IBM, Sun Microsystems
Inc., Netscape Communications Corp., and Hewlett-Packard Co.,
all of which have embraced the OMG's Object Transaction Service
(OTS) running on top of CORBA.

That rivalry will escalate further when Redmond, Wash.-based
Microsoft delivers another forthcoming DCOM service that
includes messaging middleware, code-named Falcon, in 1997.

This offering will face challenges from existing products, such
as IBM's MQSeries and Digital Equipment Corp.'s DECMessageQue.
The OMG, meanwhile, is expected to issue next month a request
for proposals for messaging services to counter Falcon.

In the meantime, suppliers of object request brokers are
expected to counter Viper by delivering OTS support later this
year and early next year, whereas Microsoft is expected to roll
out the initial version of Viper some time in 1997. But
industry analysts speculated that it might be 1998 or 1999
before complete versions of Viper are ready.

Both rival framework architectures for creating distributed
object-based applications are needed to handle the increasingly
complex transactions among client and server objects across a

These frameworks will play much the same role as transaction
processing monitors and database management systems play on
today's procedural code applications.

As with existing CORBA-vs.-DCOM comparisons, this one can pit
products based on the OMG's mature, standard CORBA
specifications against Microsoft's somewhat better-integrated
products and architectures.

"This is not a classical product comparison," said Mitch
Kramer, an analyst with Patricia Seybold Group Inc., in Boston.
"It does a disservice to CORBA, which is a specification from a
consortium, [vs.] DCOM and Viper, which are products from a
single vendor."

In addition, Microsoft could attract -- and keep -- developers'
business by offering a tightly integrated set of services,
Kramer said.

"Viper does more for you. You build a set of nonvisual
ActiveXes in a shared-nothing, lack-of-concurrency environment,
and you get threading and other distributed-environment
support, which is often the toughest part of development,"
Kramer said. "The core CORBA services and OTS are tangible, but
what do you use for directory and security? You could wind up
writing your own."

However, other analysts point to the impending shipment of
OTS-enabled software and the cross-platform nature of CORBA as
advantages that favor the OMG.

"As Viper is gelling and solidifying, OTS will be supported in
shipping products," said Melinda Ballou, an analyst with Meta
Group Inc., in Stamford, Conn.

Microsoft is moving to counter the cross-platform capabilities
of CORBA by handing off the task of promoting the work of
porting DCOM to other platforms to The Open Group, in
Cambridge, Mass.

As Microsoft and rival vendors compete under the OMG umbrella,
developers hope that ongoing COM/DCOM-CORBA integration efforts
will pan out.

"Some of Microsoft's distributed code is proprietary to
Windows. If you're an all-Microsoft shop, that's no problem,
but we're concerned since many of our clients are not all
[Windows] NT and Microsoft," said the CEO of a California-based
vertical applications developer, who requested anonymity. "Some
of our bigger customers have investments in Unix and CORBA
technology. We just have to hope Microsoft means it when it
says, 'open standard.'"

Microsoft is at http://www.microsoft.com/.

Please direct your comments to InfoWorld Electric News Editor Dana Gardn=

Copyright =A9 1996 InfoWorld Publishing Company

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