One of the great things about my job covering integration, and in particular Service Oriented Architecture, is it's so alive and diverse. The philosophy of SOA may be simple, but the details are tough, and it's fun to watch a truly world-wide community participating as the technology "grow up."
Or maybe that's just the cough medicine talking. I don't know.
But at any rate, I was a bit surprised and delighted to find this post on SOA best practices, written by the director of enterprise architecture and strategic planning for U.S. Coast Guard. See? Everybody's doing their part.
The blog, User-Centric Enterprise Architecture, is written by Andrew N. Blumenthal, who was also the former Chief Enterprise Architect at the U.S. Secret Service. His bio includes a long list of private- and public-sector companies, including IBM. It's definitely worth checking out, but what caught my eye was his recent post on SOA best practices, which he adapted from a recent master's thesis published by the Naval Post Graduate School.
Included among the SOA best practices were these admonishments:
Know when to use services. That's pretty straight-forward. Not everything needs to be a service.
Think big, start small. The entry advises that starting small "allows us to validate the architecture, while giving the organization value, realized as usable services." I particularly liked this one, because it seems to me starting small but thinking big could be more important than the ongoing debate of whether you build SOA from the bottom-up, top-down or middle-out.
(ZDNet blogger Joe McKendrick updated this hot topic recently with a look at how Guerrilla SOA fits into the debate.)
Use SOA to streamline business processes. The post points out that SOA is a great opportunity to rethink and improve business processes. That's why it's important to get business buy-in and involvement early on.
Build around a security model. No kidding. Security is something that's just now getting attention, but it's still a secondary topic. SOA gives IT a chance to correct some of its past mistakes -- and your first opportunity comes with ensuring security isn't an afterthought.
There are nine best practices in all. It's a quick, easy read, but it nicely sums the essentials for SOA success.