Wednesday, 4 February 2009

SOA Marketing is dead! Long live service orientation

Most of you have probably read the blogpost by Anne Thomas Manes about SOA being dead. This coming from an analyst, doesn't surprise me. But I do like the very nice picture she put in.

SOA has been pushed by middleware vendors and analysts alike. But ... they've been pushing SOA as a technology, what it really is NOT. Too bad really, because it makes convincing our businesses a lot harder.

She does have a point in that the term SOA has turned sour. In a way, that's good. It forces us to focus again on what we need to do: we need to build solutions that our business needs. And if we need service orientation to do that, we'll use it.

Look back at all the hypes behind us. They're gone, but the underlying mechanisms (structured programming, object orientation, BPM, decoupling, etc) are still with us and will be for the next years. The same will go for service orientation. So, let's get back to work!

Confusing SOA

It seems that a lot of people forget the A in SOA. A is for Architecture. However, SOA has been pushed by vendors and analysts as being the technological panacee for almost all business issues.

There are parts of the architecture where technology comes in, but mainly architecture is about a vision for the company, about business drivers and goals, about aligning the whole company towards the vision, about implementing the right organizational units, processes, procedures and applications.

What this means, is that a lot of people confuse SOA with technology. I hear people ask 'where can i buy SOA' or state 'we're doing SOA, we've just implemented our first webservice'.

The way I see it, there's architecture and there's technology. You can use service orientation concepts in both of them. So:

* SOA = architecture characterized by the use of service orientation concepts
* SOC = service oriented computing (using service orientation techniques)
* SOI = service oriented infrastructure