Friday, 2 October 2009

CBDI-SAE Meta Model for SOA Version 3

The September 2009 CBDI Journal contains a “draft” publication of Version 3 of the SAE Meta Model. It incorporates some changes based on our continued work with customers and standards organizations and provides a mapping to SoaML so that end users can reap the benefits of both the breadth and depth of the SAE Meta Model as well as the capabilities that tool vendors will develop based on SoaML. Everware-CBDI plans to publish mappings to other ontologies shortly and other meta models as they mature.

It’s been some time since the last major revision of the CBD-Service Architecture and Engineering™ (SAE) Meta Model for SOA. Since then Everware-CBDI has published a UML Profile for SAE1 that has received quite broad acceptance and has been downloaded by thousands of members worldwide.

Everware-CBDI is committed to aligning with standards where appropriate and to that end we have contributed to, and worked extensively on SoaML, the service modeling language developed within the Object Management Group (OMG). What we’ve found in the course of our involvement in these efforts is that while there is some convergence in terminology, significant differences remain in the details between the various standards bodies working in this area, ranging from overall purpose of model/ontology of each organization to the exact definitions.

Our intent in the SAE Meta Model is to provide support for these various standards to our membership while not sacrificing the value built into our existing meta model. To that end, we will provide mappings of SAE terminology to these various meta models, profile and ontologies and guidance regarding their use within SAE.


The SOA marketplace continues to mature and at Everware-CBDI we feel a measure of satisfaction in knowing that we’ve had a hand in that evolution through the guidance we’ve been giving over the years. The SAE Meta Model is one of many contributions and was a key input to the Object Management Group’s SoaML specification.

The SAE Meta Model was first released in October of 2006 and updated to Version 2 in 2007 as a result of feedback from our membership and the broader industry. Everware-CBDI created a UML profile based on V2 in 2008 that has since been downloaded thousands of times all over the world. Obviously industry was ready for more mature support for modeling services and the feedback we got was very positive.

In parallel with our efforts the Object Management Group (OMG) issued a Request For Proposal (RFP) for a UML Profile and Meta Model (UPMS) in September of 2006. A submission team formed that included Everware-CBDI, IBM, EDS, HP, Model Driven Solutions, SINTEF and several others. SoaML was finally adopted as a specification in November of 2008 and is currently in the finalization process.

Introduction to V3

Any model remains a work in progress if it is to continue to be relevant over time. The SAE Meta Model is no different. As mentioned above the meta model has been downloaded thousands of times and has provided a practical mechanism for using SAE with existing toolsets. Feedback from that broad membership usage along with our own involvement in standards organizations and client engagements has pointed out some areas that needed improvement and some holes that needed to be filled. Equally, we have continued to refine and extend our SAE guidance. Hence, we saw requirements to address the following:

  • Incorrect or cyclical dependencies between meta model packages,
  • Only a very loose notion of who or what is providing a service,
  • The need for a more consistent concept of Service for both business and software contexts,
  • Separation of a concept (or “thing”) from the specification (i.e., the artifact) of the concept,
  • The need for refinement of the relationships between Service, Automation Unit, and Deployable Artifact, and
  • The need for inclusion of the concept of Internal Architecture.
Version 3 of the SAE Meta Model attempts to address these issues.

We shall shortly be launching a review process and will make an updated specification and UML Profile available to those who would like to participate in the process.
If you are interested in doing so, drop us a note on our CBDI Contact Page

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