Microsoft has been plugging its Oslo vision for business process management and SOA, talking up its plans for “in the cloud” software services.

Robert Wahbe, corporate vice president of the Connected Systems Division at Microsoft, had two main sets of talking points at the Microsoft 2007 SOA and Business Process Conference.

"The first is we're doubling down on services," he said. "We've been working in services and [are] a leader on services and we're extending that from the client and making a huge bet on the cloud." Microsoft will host services itself, he said.

The second point is making a platform that is fundamentally model-driven. Microsoft officials discussed a new modelling tool and repository to break down application silos. A modelling language will be featured that interoperates with other modelling languages such as BPEL (Business Process Execution Language) for Web Services.

Microsoft technologies shown included an application composer to map application parts to systems.

Also emphasised was the company's Internet Service Bus concept for SOA, featuring a hosted platform for building composite applications, connecting disparate systems, and providing communication between end points. Microsoft's Internet Service Bus has encompassed hosted building-block services to connect systems across business units and partners as well as .Net Framework extensions.

An attendee lauded Microsoft for finally countering rivals by detailing its SOA efforts.

"I think that prior to this point, it's been hard using Microsoft SOA technologies in competitive situations with other vendors like IBM and Tibco and now what I see is the kind of vision and platform that we need to have in place in order to implement a full SOA [implementation] on the Microsoft stack," said Sam Gentile, principal consultant with Neudesic, a Microsoft technology platform partner.

But an industry analyst was less impressed with Microsoft's Oslo vision.

"I think it made sense from the aspiration perspective, but I thought there's still a lot of details left to be clarified," said Dwight Davis, analyst with Ovum. One detail Davis wanted was whether the new modelling tool would work with existing tools.

Also, some of Microsoft's discussion sounded familiar to the company's Dynamic IT plan, Davis said. Microsoft has noted that Oslo builds on the model-driven and service-enabled principals of Microsoft Dynamic IT.

Microsoft's plan also sounded akin to the company’s Dynamic Systems Initiative for agile businesses, which was not even mentioned at the conference, Davis noted.

Microsoft also did not mention its previously discussed SML (Service Modelling Language) technology: "Where was SML today?" Davis asked.

Oslo will not involve new products but instead incorporates Oslo-based functionality into new products, such as a version of Visual Studio currently referred to as visual Studio "10."