Semantic Technologies Meet SOA

Metatomix’s middleware applies business rules, reasoning to data Do semantic technologies have a place in software-oriented architecture (SOA), and more important, can they break organizations’ reliance on expensive data warehouses? Metatomix believes they can.Sept. 10 saw the release of version 5.0 of Metatornix’s semantic middleware platform.

The platform applies business process rules, and semantic reasoning from industry domain ontologies to information that it collects, enabling customers to integrate data and to uncover and define relationships.“[Semantic technology] eases the way to describe and work with information,” said chief technology officer Colin Britton.

A metadata-based approach offers users a network-centric view of information stored in various silos of data, he explained.Metatomix 5.0 uses the SPARQL RDF query language to perform federated queries across multiple databases and data formats, and now offers support for a number of data types, including relational, filebased and memory-resident, said Britton. Support has also been added for Oracle llg’s semantic layer.

In addition, the new release includes reasoning and validation enhancements to validate semantic data against an ontology, and has an improved business policy engine, licensed from an unnamed third-party vendor. The policy engine permits organizations to semantically describe business actions without writing business rules.

Another new feature is service links, which are data access services that forge links between data, creating reusable modules out of service profiles. Britton cited the example of a state official who queries an individuals driver’s license number, where the semantic engine evaluates how it should respond using business rules and ontologies. It directs the query to the Department of Motor Vehicles, and the registry at the DMV answers, with additional information that the query can use to call other data sources, forming a processing chain.

ENABLES EXISTING STACKMetatomix also updated its application development tool, MetaStudio. MetaStudio is an Eclipsebased IDE that bundles tools and libraries to help developers semantically enable apps. The IDE enables semantic use from within Adobe’s Flex, through Java EE containers to the application platform, said Britton.“We don’t see our role as to be the full stack. People are already investing in that stack.

We are semantically enabling the stack that they have, with an intelligent processing engine,” said Britton.“Metatomix is laser-focused on providing customers with real-world applications of semantic technology,” said Metatomix president and CEO Jeff Dickerson.