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December 16, 2005

Microsoft, SAP, IBM pull the plug on UDDI Business Registry

Posted by David Hunter at 8:55 PM ET.

Paul Krill at InfoWorld:

Microsoft, IBM, and SAP are discontinuing the UDDI Business Registry (UBR) project for Web services on January 12, according to Web-based bulletins from the three companies.

There’s more by following the link, but Universal Description, Discovery and Integration (UDDI) is a XML-based standard for describing, publishing, and finding Web services within a distributed directory structure. The UBR was an attempt to create a public “White Pages” of conforming web services offered by various companies via linked registries at the three partners. It was hoped that public directories would lead to automated web service interactions among enterprises. While the technology was good, the UBR business model was not for a variety of reasons as explained at Microsoft’s All About Interop weblog. Quoting liberally:

Microsoft, along with IBM and SAP, announced they will close down their respective nodes in the public UDDI Business Registry, also known in our AHI as the UBR. [AHI = acronym-happy industry] Microsoft’s UBR is here, IBM’s, etc). The companies published a collective FAQ on the move.

In short, seems to me this is a tragedy of the commons type of story. All of the various implementations of UDDI worked together within the UBR, so interop was clearly demonstrated. (At this point, interop between UDDI registries is a real yawner, but 4 years ago, it was still a concept, a vision. Things change quickly. ) But, there was no quality enforcement or governance on the UBR, because there was no direct funding. Anyone could publish. No one was checking quality or doing garbage collection. So there was lots of, um, low-quality data in the UBR. But, that phenomenon doesn’t mean UDDI itself is low value, or is being discontinued.

The vendors will continue support of UDDI, the protocol, in products and services.

Companies will continue to use UDDI for internal registries. I expect that there will be public UDDI registries, also, but probably not a “commons” arrangement. Instead third parties will host for-fee service and will guarantee quality of the listings. Just a guess.

There is also a pointer to the CBDI Forum which has a worthwhile commentary including:

As a consequence of the lack of governance over the process of publishing entries to UBR, it was rumoured that 3/4 of the entries were invalid. Consequently most organizations steered clear of a public registry. In fact, very few saw any need for Services to be publicly advertised at all, as usage was either internal, or between close business partners who could be advised of available Services by other mechanisms.

However, that is not to say that the world doesn’t need some form of “public” service registry. Although the federated UBR that replicated entries between the IBM, Microsoft and SAP nodes will close down in January, SAP in fact will continue to host their public node.

But what it needs is governance and management over the contents, not the free for all that UBR is.

Filed under Alliances, Coopetition, IBM, SAP, Technologies, Web Services

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