GoogleIt Mail IT Print IT PermaLinkRay Ozzie, WInFS, And IBM, NSF, DB2 And XML
12:45:06 AM
Written By : Richard SchwartzCategory : IBM And Open Data Formats
Location : Nashua, NH

It has been widely reported and blogged that WinFS Beta 1 has been released, and via Peter O'Kelly, I found my way to Peter Spiros' recent article in the WinFS blog, where I found an interesting bit of info that I think adds some evidence to back a statement I made in Jon Vaughan's SearchDomino article about the acquisistion. Here's what Peter Spiro wrote:

A few years back Ray Ozzie came to Microsoft to speak at an internal workshop we have called WHiPS (Workshop on High Performance Systems). Ray talked about Groove. It was a pretty cool app trying to be a platform (tough to do for a small company). As we were talking after his presentation he described how he had to first build a platform on top of the operating system, which then enabled him to build the app that he had envisioned. He said he needed storage beyond just a file system; he needed synchronization capabilities to share information between different machines/users, he needed advanced security mechanisms, he needed a way to model his particular schemas in the storage system, he needed to search on the information. So he built a richer storage system that incorporated these types of concepts and then he built the Groove app on top of his platform.  His comment to me was that Microsoft should build such a platform and stop selling the same old operating system and storage capabilities that we as an industry have been polishing for 20-30 years. He felt this richer platform would create a new ecosystem that allowed a variety of new apps to be developed.  

He was right; and I told him we had already started on it, and that it was called WinFS.

Now, here's what I had said about Ray and WinFS in the SearchDomino article

One of the things that I think is a natural fit for Ray will be working with the WinFS team. As I see it, WinFS is trying to integrate the equivalent of the NSF file and all the services that go along with it into the Windows OS so that all Windows applications can reap the types of benefits that Notes developers have been getting from NSF for years. WinFS has apparently been a troublesome project at Microsoft, and who better to get it back on track than the man who conceived of NSF?

I wasn't coming totally out of left field with that. Ray had written a lengthy blog entry about WinFS, including this:

In a pre-WinFS world, each application has managed its own "documents" and "records" and "collections" as an island unto itself - each with its own indexing and interaction mechanisms, each with its own solution-building mechanisms. Good 'nuf. But in a WinFS world - just like in a Web Services world - we have the opportunity to explore what would happen if we dared to "deconstruct and refactor" our concepts of traditional client-side applications into a mesh of separately-built application components that "meet" at the level of common persistent objects and relationships.

I'm totally convinced that Ray sees WinFS as "NSF done right". I.e., it is the logical successor to the NSF file, the Groove data store, and every other non-relational store that anyone has built as the foundation for a collaboration platform. Even after all these years removed from Lotus, there's still probably nobody who knows more than Ray about what the real architectural strengths and weaknesses of NSF are, so I think Ray's ideas about this demand attention from IBM. So, now that WinFS is out in beta, I hope that IBM takes a very close look at it. I also hope, though, that IBM continues down the path of XML in Notes and Domino. WinFS plus XML is where Microsoft is really going, and despite all the hoopla about NSFDB2 in Notes and Domino 7, I believe that XML is the logical successor to the note (a.k.a. "document") within the NSF file. Back in June, I wrote a couple of articles about that. I'm not suggesting that WinFS plus XML should also be the linchpin of IBM's strategy, but I am convinced that it is something they can't ignore. They can't ignore it from a competitive point of view. They shouldn't ignore it from a compatability point of view. And potentially, they might even want to look at it as another optional alternate data store, similar to the way they are now implementing DB2.

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Comments :v

1. jonvon09/01/2005 11:13:28 AM

wow. interesting. really interesting. thanks for posting this.

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Nice post. But you should take a look to DB2 Viper ( and its XML capabilities.

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