Integration as a SOA Service?

Loraine Lawson

I ran across this headline yesterday on Virtualization.sys-con.com: "SOA and Integration-as-a-Service."


Obviously, it caught my eye. It sounded pretty exciting, so I read it.


I admit, I was a bit disappointed. I guess I'd hoped someone had discovered an easy way to outsource internal integration, which would be very interesting.


But no. It's about how you can integrate with external customers using SOA, and it seems to apply primarily to those doing B2B.


And then I reread it.


It's still an interesting proposition, isn't it? Integration as an SOA service (IaaS) in and of itself is still pretty darn compelling, even if we're talking about integration outside the enterprise walls.


And as the author, Andrew Kent (a CTO and founder of an integration platform company), points out, maybe we do spend too much time talking about integration within the organization while missing out on opportunities SOA offers to integrate with outside customers and partners.


I'd be interested in hearing from companies that have outsourced customer integration, because this piece makes it sound like the easiest possible answer:

IaaS doesn't require extended executive sponsorship, endless meetings, facilitated workshops, or any of the other components typically associated with enterprise-level application implementations. Rather, a knowledgeable service provider works with key company resources, and integration proceeds rapidly and unobtrusively.

Still, even if it's not so simple, as the sidebar at the end of the article explains, outsourcing customer integration could speed up initiatives that internal IT doesn't have the skills or time to implement. So, it's worth checking out. I also like the fact that Kent outlines what returns and services you should monitor to make sure you're getting your money's worth out of a provider.

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Aug 13, 2008 8:29 AM Francis Carden Francis Carden  says:
IAAS now there's a thought. How could this be though, when 95% of transactions are not service enabled? (I made that stat up but I bet I'm close). Indeed most applications that are SAAS are not readily available as a real web service and even if they were, how do you take a 20 year old mainframe app and have that consume a service of a SAAS. IT are already slammed with their backlogs.Now it's time to see what's going on in the market. Companies like OpenSpan (for which I work) enables almost any user driven application to be exposed as a service. That is, I can even take the good old calc.exe program and expose it's functionality as a service. I know the calculator works, because it has for years. Now I can see it as a service and use it's "transactions" anywhere, inside or outside the organization. Now do that with Billing, CRM or other traditional legacy applications, right now. No waiting!Now your asking, if I have 10,000 people (or service callers) wanting to use calculator (or CRM etc.,), where does the calc.exe run? Again, companies like OpenSpan can run traditional applications in a virtualization server farm and serve up limitless service calls. Virtualization farms (or grids) become the new mainframe for legacy apps (fat/ria/web/java) and exposes their business processes (almost instantly), without any rewrites, as web services. You don't even need to own the source code. Is that IAAS? Not quite, but I think it's as close as you'll ever get considering 95% of transactional applications are running on user desktops or behind the firewall (I took that stat from the air too but I think it's also close).Francis Carden, Founder, OpenSpan Inc., Reply

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