Tales from Intel: The Integration Payoff of SOA

Loraine Lawson

Honestly, when it comes to SOA, there's no shortage of advice, columns and articles. It's difficult, however, to find real-world implementation stories - which is why I make these types of articles a priority when I wade through integration content each week for this blog.

This week, I found one you absolutely should not miss. It's a Q&A with Intel Chief Architect Steve Birkel, published on SOA Magazine, which seems to publish monthly. Intel started its SOA pilot project in 2004 and more recently moved to a larger-scale SOA adoption initiative. There are two reasons this piece is particularly worthwhile:

  1. It's a look at an SOA implementation inside a manufacturing company - not a software development firm.
  2. It includes a lengthy discussion of the more mundane, but practical issues with SOA implementation - including how SOA has made integration much easier at Intel.

In fact, Birkel said the biggest benefit from SOA thus far has been its impact on interoperability. Previously, Intel spent a lot of time and money on creating and maintaining point-to-point integration with vendor products. Here's how Birkel said SOA changed that:

It seems like the big thing that is happening now in terms of maturing SOA is that this level of interoperability is becoming much more real. Where we would put a huge amount of development resources into point-to-point integration before, we still saw a significant amount of investment required to make even the [early] SOA out-of-the-box components interoperate. Now, we are seeing that become less as the situation matures and we have vendors that are offering products which much more directly enable that interoperability.

So, there you have it: a witness to SOA's ability to solve ongoing integration problems.


You'll also find a worthwhile discussion of how Intel's understanding and implementation of SOA evolved and Birkel's three recommendations for those just starting an SOA implementation.

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