At the end of last year, Microsoft and Sun embarked on an internal project code-named Tango, which is part of ongoing Web services interoperability efforts between the two companies. Sun’s Java Web services engineers are working with Microsoft’s Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) engineers to ensure Java-technology-based applications integrate and interoperate within the .Net framework.

“Sun realizes that interoperability gives them a competitive advantage,” said Kirill Gavrylyuk, interoperability program manager, connected systems division at Microsoft. “No enterprise is an island.”

Onno Kluyt, chair of the Java Community Process (JCP) program, said Sun and Microsoft are still learning how to work together. “A few years back, the cultures of each company were on the opposite sides of the spectrum,” said Kluyt.

He said there is a potential “win-win” scenario for the two companies if Sun can make Java technology better interoperate with Microsoft database products.

Established in 1998, the JCP is a Sun-led initiative to develop and revise the Java technology specifications. The JCP currently has 1,052 members, including JBoss, Oracle and Apache Software Foundation, but not Microsoft.

At an international press roundtable during JavaOne, Jonathan Schwartz, Sun president and CEO, said one of his first calls when he took over the helm from Scott McNealy was to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

As part of project Tango, Microsoft and Sun engineers have been implementing and testing a number of Web services (WS) specifications such as WS-Security, XML Schema and SOAP to ensure interoperability between the two platforms.

David Senf, manager of Canadian application development and infrastructure software at IDC Canada, said interoperability between different security standards such as WS-Security is going to help accelerate SOA adoption.

“It’s going to help federate across .Net and across other environments,” said Senf. Enterprises, however, are still grappling with being able to grant access rights to their employees, he said.

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