Given that it is the end of January, this is also the end of the official prediction season. In this last 2008 prediction post I will cover SOA as we see it in the market.
The challenge of determining if how much SOA is actually happening is the fact that it’s very hard to define it. As anything that IBM leads the way in defining, it is a complex beast involving business process and definition of web service byte structure in one package making it impossible to follow.
In a recent investor talk, Larry Ellison mentioned a slow and long penetration for SOA. The view from the user side is quite different.
To answer the questions simply, SOA is happening big time! While it might not be with the exact service structure, anyone writing a new application today is going to architect it around separate and interchangeable logical modules that communicate through web services. It doesn’t get any more SOA than that.
What is driving this architectural change? As with all successful technology evolutions – the business. The business puts tremendous pressure on developers to come up with new features faster and cheaper. No other architecture today can match the “copy – paste” approach offered by composite applications connecting through web services. It is the de-facto standard.
The challenges facing SOA are probably now is moving from development and QA and into production and infrastructure. The dynamics involved in an constantly changing environment where some part of code is changing somewhere all the time are such that it is best described by one word “Chaos”. One developer could shake his winds on one side of the data center and by the time it gets to the business service relaying on that service on the other side, that service goes down all together.
For SOA to move to the next step, we need SOI (Service Oriented Infrastructure) which the equivalent of the checks and balances placed in any open and dynamic system.
SOI is aware of the application state and dependencies and is able to assure that not every user and service are treated equally as they are not created equal either.
The business is the reason for SOA and the business context is the missing link to make SOA a viable platform (meaning affordable) in production.