OASIS WS-Transaction (almost) a standard
The OASIS WS-TX technical committee held a face-to-face meeting last week at IBM Hursely. This is likely the last such meeting prior to final standardisation of WS-Coordination, WS-AtomicTransaction and WS-BusinessActivity. It has been a long struggle to get here, dating back to extended transaction work at the OMG, a first attempt at Web Services standardisation via BTP and OASIS WS-CAF (where there is a lot of overlap due to history). This meeting was primarily just making sure that all of the i's were dotted and t's crossed and getting agreement to progress to OASIS standard; all of the heavy work had been done over the past 12 months.
- WS-AtomicTransaction defines a traditional ACID transactions model, based on two-phase commit (2PC). Many people believe that 2PC is not right for the loosely coupled nature of Web Services and they'd be right. However, this overlooks the other important aspect of Web Services: interoperability. Interoperability between existing vendor implementations is key for many transaction processing deployments, particularly those that have grown via acquisitions of heterogeneous technologies. This has been a transaction processing holy grail for many years.
- WS-BusinessActivity provides a forward compensation model, much more appropriate for loosely coupled, long duration interactions. This latter model will probably have slower take-up than WS-AtomicTransaction, but it should become more important over time.