Service-oriented architecture (SOA) is being touted by some folks as the biggest sea change to hit IT since the client-server environment.
While this is open for debate, there appears to be little doubt -- with big vendors like IBM and Oracle on board -- that SOA is here to stay. But is there a place for SOA at SMBs?
ZDNet blogger Joe McKendrick isn't convinced that SMBs have the necessary resources and time to pursue SOA. As he notes: "Joe's Shower Curtain Ring Company down the street may not be willing or able to pursue SOA as we know it."
The results of a recent Nucleus Research survey appear to bear this out, showing that just 15 percent of companies with staffs of less than 100 are in the process of implementing SOA.
McKendrick shares a conversation he had with the IS manager of a 500-employee company who says his primary criteria for technology is that it be "hands-off" and "largely automatic" -- two characteristics that certainly don't describe SOA.
Though VARs featured in a CRN article republished on Computing haven't found SOA to be an easy sell among SMBs, one VAR interviewed in the article says he promotes SOA by making SMBs aware that SOA can help them avoid "tearing out their existing infrastructure."
One promising possibility for SMBs interested in SOA is the type of platform recently introduced by Salesforce.com that provides a number of core application development and SOA tools on-demand.
According to Dave Linthicum, writing in InfoWorld, such a platform "provides a single location for sharing services and tools, single global repository and directory, and the ability to get out of the constant struggle and expense of keeping your software and hardware stack current."