It's almost passe to write about service-oriented architecture as a stand-alone issue these days. True, you'll see it discussed as part of another project-master data management, cloud computing, SaaS-but there are few pieces focusing on SOA.
Anyway, isn't SOA is supposed to be dead?
Well, that's one of the nine great unsolved SOA mysteries, it turns out: "How could SOA be failing when nobody really has SOA yet?" asks Joe McKendrick in one of the few lengthy pieces I've seen in a long time devoted solely to SOA:
There's been a rush as of late to declare SOA dead in the water, when surveys I have seen and conducted show most companies are still planning or considering their first service-oriented projects. In fact, the major challenge I keep hearing about these days is SOA gets too successful, and too many services are being added or launched willy-nilly -- or being demanded -- across enterprises that have SOA efforts underway. That's why so many vendors are hyping governance.
Frankly, the piece is a fun read, in part because McKendrick is shining a bright light on some commonly-seen, throw-away remarks about SOA. And, along the way, he makes his point that SOA is still relevant.
I particularly think McKendrick hits the nail on the head with his first two items, which point out the connection between cloud and SOA:
When you get right down to it, cloud is the acquisition or provisioning of reusable services that cross enterprise walls. Likewise, Enterprise 2.0 is accessing services that enable greater collaboration and mashing up of information by end-users. They are service oriented architecture, and they rely on SOA-based principles to function.
As I see it, the difference is who builds, owns, controls, and maintains the services, and I think that's why the cloud holds more appeal now than SOA-it promises a way out of doing the hard work yourself. Or does it? McKendrick quotes SOA and cloud expert David Linthicum as saying that cloud still requires enterprise architecture and governance-essentially the same steps you have to take for SOA.
One thing I wish he'd also discussed: This idea of private clouds and SOA. If public clouds and SOA support each other, I think that's even more true of private clouds and SOA. I still tend to get confused about the difference between these two. I found ebizQ's April discussion, which McKendrick moderated, very helpful, along with Linthicum's February post.
Maybe the future of SOA isn't so "cloudy" after all. McKendrick's piece certainly challenges some of today's conventional thinking about SOA.