According to a recent press release, Microsoft is plotting a huge vision for a modern SOA platform.

Microsoft unveils an ambitious roadmap for its SOA vision, to bridge “software+services”, and to take composite applications mainstream. The company announces multi-year investment in “Oslo” and launches new SOA resources for IT professionals.

It is the first time Microsoft has outlined how it plans to integrate its emerging SOA platform and its software-plus-services initiatives.

Building on the technology available today, the “Oslo” advancements will be delivered through Microsoft server and tools products in five key areas:

  • Server - Microsoft BizTalk Server “6” will continue to provide a core foundation for distributed and highly scalable SOA and BPM solutions, and deliver the capability to develop, manage and deploy composite applications.
  • Services. - BizTalk Services “1” will offer a commercially supported release of Web-based services enabling hosted composite applications that cross organizational boundaries. This release will include advanced messaging, identity and workflow capabilities.
  • Framework - The Microsoft .NET Framework “4” release will further enable model-driven development with Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) and Windows Workflow Foundation (WF).
  • Tools - New technology planned for Visual Studio “10” will make significant strides in end-to-end application life-cycle management through new tools for model-driven design of distributed applications.
  • Repository - There will also be investments in aligning the metadata repositories across the Server and Tools product sets. Microsoft System Center “5,” Visual Studio “10” and BizTalk Server “6” will utilize a repository technology for managing, versioning and deploying models.

But one important missing thing from the “Oslo” pitch is a release date for the planned products, which are clearly being scheduled for delivery once the current clutch of planned new server and tools software are out the door next February.

One report (PDF) has Oslo at sometime in 2009. That means Microsoft's server and tools will slip even further behind important rivals IBM, Oracle, SAP and even tiny BEA Systems in middleware.