Lately I've been spending a lot of time thinking about service virtualization and why it matters. Along the way I've been doing some work for William Oellermann's crew within Microsoft Services — they are responsible for building the Managed Services Engine (MSE) that brings many service virtualization concepts to life today on the Windows platform.

If you're interested in learning more about service virtualization, check out my short executive whitepaper on the topic that was released at the SOA/BP conference earlier this year:

Why Service Virtualization Matters (download PDF)
Abstract: Service virtualization is an emerging trend in the SOA landscape that focuses on providing a common infrastructure for building and managing a complex service ecosystem. This paper discusses the concept of service virtualization along with a brief description of the technical solutions Microsoft currently provides today.

Microsoft Services just released a new version of the MSE on CodePlex (February 09 CTP), which comes with a new-and-improved management tool (built with WPF) that really helps you visualize what's going on within your SOA environment and several new virtualization concepts and features. This release also comes with improved documentation and videos that will help you figure out how to get started.

It's interesting to note that service virtualization concepts apply to both SOAP and REST services. In fact, this new version of the MSE makes it possible to virtualize REST resources that you can manage just like any other MSE endpoint. I'll be writing more about service virtualization + MSE in the months ahead.