Intel Launches XML Suite Aimed at Enterprise SOA

The XML Software Suite and SOA Security Toolkit look like an aggressive move into software.

December 4, 2007

2 Min Read
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Intel today announced that it is shipping the XML Software Suite, a set of libraries for Java and C++ that implement common XML functions such as parsing, schema validation and language transformation. Based on technology acquired with XML appliance maker Sarvega more than two years ago, the suite aims to boost performance of application servers and SOA middleware.

Intel has previously used the Sarvega technology as a way to drive demand for its chips, but this launch looks like an aggressive move into software. It also signals a change in Intel's target customers: Whereas Intel previously aimed its technology mostly at OEMs, it now hopes to sell directly to enterprise customers too.

Although Intel recommends that customers use hardware based its own Core microarchitecture, the suite will work with any 32- or 64-bit x86 chips. Intel's own performance comparisons are against other software, claiming improvement by a factor of two or better vs. open-source XML libraries included with GNOME and

Apache.

The real competitor is still specialist XML chipmaker Tarari, whose silicon is used in hardware acceleration appliances from vendors including Cisco Systems and Layer 7 Technologies. To a lesser extent, IBM plays in the same market, building its own XML chips for its own appliances. However, by selling to enterprises directly, Intel is also competing with the appliance makers themselves, something that could cause tensions with its own customers.

According to Intel, the software's main advantage over hardware appliances is a full implementation of the JAXP (Java API for XML Processing) standard, allowing it to be used alongside existing applications without rewriting. However, this only applies to Java. There are no similar standards for C++. And although the software is available for Windows as well as Linux, it doesn't support.NET applications.The biggest market for XML appliances is security, something notably absent from the suite. Intel plans to offer this in a separate similar product, the SOA Security Toolkit. Currently in beta and scheduled to ship in 2008, this implements the WS-Security stack and its underlying standards such as XML Encryption.

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