Oracle recently released an update to its Application Integration Architecture, which is largely a set of pre-built integration packets. All this focus on integration prompted an interesting question from Managing Automation's Stephanie Neil: Why isn't SOA enough to solve integration?
You may think that's a darn good question. After all, a few years ago, service-oriented architecture promised to make integration easy and snappy. And yet, here we are, still being sold new integration tools and solutions. What happened? Was it all just an empty promise?
The first thing I would say to that is the promise of SOA was to make integration easier and faster-not solve it altogether. But on top of that, as Tim Hall, Oracle's senior director of product management application integration architecture explained to Neil, a lot of things have changed since then. First, there's the cloud, which adds off-premise integration challenges for enterprises. There are also more programming languages, plus the never-ending need for customization, Hall told Neil.
All good points.
But while I was reading the article, I couldn't shake one thought: SOA certainly seems to have made integration easier for Oracle.
Oracle isn't the only one, of course. I read a lot -- and I mean, A LOT -- of press releases from vendors selling middleware and integration connectors, and I promise you, SOA plays a prominent role in what they're offering. They've deployed service-oriented architectures within their organizations and products, and as a result, they're able to make their products easier to deploy and easier to sell to you.
So did SOA solve integration? No. But then again, no one ever promised you that. As Neil observes, we'll probably never see a "turnkey enterprise integration solution," but that's probably a good thing-after all, organizations have different needs, and such a solution would require an Orwellian-level of standardization.
You don't hear a lot these days about SOA and its integration benefits. ZDNet's Joe McKendrick-who keeps the faith for SOA though the hype has ended-didn't even mention it when he wrote about four good reasons to embrace service-oriented thinking in 2011.
Still, you don't have to look very far to see that SOA is the foundation for today's integration solutions. And that tells me a lot about how far SOA's taken integration for those who have pursued it.