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Cisco announced a new SOA protocol as an alternative to SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) for client-server application integration. Known as "Etch", Cisco argues that it will make life easier for developers looking to integrate real-time applications into their SOA by offering lower overhead and better cross-platform functionality. Etch is part of the latest release of the Cisco Unified Application Environment (CAUE).
While Cisco has tremendous mind-share in the network and unified communications market, its reach into the developer community lags behind that of companies such as Microsoft and IBM. By releasing Etch as an open source protocol, Cisco hopes to grow a base of developers who will integrate Cisco's real-time communications applications with SOA infrastructures, thus enabling organizations to easily integrate business processes with communications services. In recent benchmark on SOA, Nemertes found strong interest among enterprise IT architects in building such bridges.
Cisco isn't the first UC vendor to make a strong push into the developer community. Avaya released a "Communications Process Manager" server last year to integrate communications services into enterprise SOAs. It will be interesting to watch as the push among UC vendors to grow developer communities emerges into a key battleground.