The Case for Application Modernization
In IT, the symptoms are the proliferation of servers and storage systems. The actual disease is all the applications that the IT organization is trying to support.
If statistics are any indication, SOA seems to be settling down and achieving the sort of acceptance of what's truly possible-and what's not-that comes with maturity.
Joe McKendrick recently wrote about a Forrester survey on SOA, which queried 2,100 companies. The results show SOA's on the rise, and a large percentage of those who've tried it, like it.
In fact, among Global 2000 enterprises, 84 percent report they're using SOA now or at least will be by the end of the year. More impressively, 70 percent of SOA users reported it "has delivered enough benefit to expand its use."
The report did include a bit of bad news-Forrester found that 20 to 28 percent of those who've tried SOA are still struggling to achieve benefits.
McKendrick offered a good explanation for why SOA tends to take hold once it's been introduced to an organization:
"SOA really has little to do with actual technology-it's a philosophy, a methodology, which emphasizes constructing or deconstructing flows of services to map to business processes. SOA detaches business services from underlying technology. For that reason, once service orientation begins to get baked in to organizations, there's no going back, and it doesn't matter what technologies come along next."
But another Forrester survey, this one sponsored by HP, suggests an additional reason why SOA may be on the rise: Many organizations are turning to SOA as a means of modernizing legacy applications.
Though the TechTarget article about the survey doesn't mention this, the survey queried 208 global IT organizations, according to this IT Business Edge slideshow of the results. Participants were allowed to choose multiple options-you can see all the available options in slide 6. Of the total ways chosen to address application modernization, 46 percent opted to use a "modernized in place" approach, which the TechTarget article explains translated into building a service-oriented architecture for many organizations.
"It's less invasive and reduces risk vs. completely rewriting applications. One approach is to externalize in a business rules engine to change how programs process data, to make them more flexible," Tom Hall, global offering manager, SOA and Integration Services, HP Enterprise Services, told TechTarget.
Hall also admitted that SOA probably isn't "THE" end-all-be-all solution to application modernization, but should be viewed as "a component to be applied."