Productizing SOA

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SOA was a major theme at the Oracle OpenWorld conference last week in San Francisco, and the company released a number of new SOA-related products as part of its Fusion middleware offering.


You now get an enhanced ESB, an improved BPEL process manager that enables easier work flow design, new facilities to manage an enterprise service registry, metadata repository services and more.


We don't argue that these are valuable services, and we'll leave the judgment of how well they work to technical experts. The question is, what happened to the idea that SOA is a design philosophy?


It seems like every good IT idea suffers to some extent from the realities of the marketplace, where, when all is said and done, companies are out to make money, and that means marketing. Unfortunately, marketing often hurts more than it helps. Oracle, for example, got itself into trouble with its "SOA 2.0." Mark Little, director of standards and development manager for the Transactions and ESB projects for JBoss, characterized SOA 2.0 as "dangerously confusing," and he wasn't alone.


The plus side of the developing market for SOA products is that it has given us items we really need. Governance is a good example. While studies suggest that SOA governance is far behind SOA deployment , automated solutions can solve this problem. And we wouldn't have these solutions without that annoying, profit-driven market.