Of Mashups, SOAs and SaaS

Loraine Lawson

Dave Linthicum sketched a radical view of enterprise IT this week in a Computerworld article focusing on mashups. In it, he links three trends: SOA, mashups and SaaS. The general idea is that SOAs, with their component-based approach to creating applications, will result in lots of services that can be mashed. And the SaaS market will expand to include third-party Web services that can be called by these mashups even though the services reside beyond the firewall.


It's a particularly compelling vision because it makes economic sense. The Saas model in general is rapidly gaining acceptance by CIOs. McKinsey reported a jump in their interest from 38 percent in 2005 to 61 percent in 2006. Bob Brauer, CEO of third-party Web services vendor StrikeIron characterizes the market for external Web services as "doing tremendously well."


The era of porous firewalls where much of the code lies outside isn't exactly around the corner. As Linthicum points out, there are significant security and business continuity concerns. What happens if a mission-critical service crashes and it's outside your control? And there's a more fundamental issue. Today's mashups are typically tightly coupled, and the whole basis of SOA is loose coupling. So we've got a few years to go before this vision becomes reality.

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