Posted by: Dilipkrishnan
Service oriented architecture (SOA) has been around for a long time. Only it used to be called by different names. Its NOT a new technology, its only a way of thinking about the various pieces in an enterprise application landscape and how they interact with each other; an example of a technology is web services and it can be used to achieve service orientation, but the vice-versa is not always the best solution neither is it the only choice.
Service oriented applications are only as good as the business analysis that goes into defining the various business entities and processes. Its a way to discover business and process inefficiencies and articulate them in a manner thats a “living document” of the current processes. With globalization and the consolidation of business, a.k.a. mergers and acquisitions, its inevitable that business processes and rules associated with them constantly change over time. To keep up with the change is crucial to the success of organizations. SOA is a way to provide business agility, one of the key measures of a successful SOA effort.
Nick Malik has a great post titled “Beware of SOA in a box” where he talks about vendors tools for SOA and how it MUST align with business
“So when you decide to move to SOA, you will inevitably have to pick some tools and products to empower your implementation. In that process, look to insure that the vendor can tell you how to get from where YOU are to where THEY want you to be. Is that destination where your organization wants to go? Can you get in for a low cost? Can you measure value? If your choice doesn’t let you answer these questions… why pick it?
* Buying a tool that you don’t use… that’s bad.
* Buying a tool that forces you to make expensive changes to your process before you see value… that’s worse.”
He is right-on about the questions companies must ask themselves before investing in tools. Just as object oriented analysis provides encapsulation, modularization and reusability in software development; the principals of SOA provide to business processes. Technologies that enable service orientation are only a means to an end and need to adapt to businesses not the other way around.