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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

SOA & The Profound Impact

Few months back, I wrote about SOA & the potential for profound change. The article higlighted that a longstanding dream of enterprises - to define the enterprise as a set of process models - becomes possible and processes begin to take center stage in defining, configuring and running software. Software can be described using many levels of models: data elements, business objects, services and processes and SOA influences all these tiers of software. Forward looking organizations realize that these changes will have an impact on everything from development tools to methodologies of deployment, maintenance, selection and procurement cycles. Dave Chappell of DavidChappell associates points out that SOA needs to be thought in terms of :
- Application architecture (Guidelines, patterns, and practices for creating service-oriented applications),
- Infrastructure architecture(Guidelines, patterns, and practices for managing and operating service-oriented applications) and,
- Enterprise architecture(Guidelines, patterns, and practices for using and getting business value from service-oriented applications).
He adds that in general developers are mostly interested in the challenges of building service-oriented applications, for instance, and so their focus tends to be on the application architecture aspects of SOA.A vendor of web services management tools commonly thinks of SOA primarily in the infrastructure sense, while an enterprise architect at a user organization is likely to be concerned mainly with SOA’s enterprise aspects. Many people ask me where is the profound change that I talked about happening with SOA – The answer quite simply lay in working on all the three SOA dimensions. Half baked measures always produce sub-optimal results. I wrote sometime back,"For now though, SOA is a recognizable and mostly virtual plumbing exercise. Most likely, vendors will draw their strategy from the experience of customers, and will adjust accordingly. Not to overlook the fact that though the vendor community is trying hard to improve their SOA maturity,evolving standards and entrenched infrastructure mean more pilots and lab environments and more & more scope for innovations as adoption tends to improve". No wonder the SOA space is also getting consolodated as can be seen here, here & here.

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