The overwhelming theme coming from IBM on the opening day of its Impact 2008 event is that SOA isn’t about the technology. It sounds a bit odd to hear that message coming from a company with more SOA-related software and hardware products than anyone can count, but Big Blue deserves some message purity points for noting that SOA isn’t per se a technology initiative … even if it is more than willing to sell you a mother lode of technology in the pursuance of SOA.
Yet it also has some new technology to show off in front of the 6,000 attendees at the Las Vegas conference, which produced a standing room only crowd this morning at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. One of the highlights is a new business process management (BPM) suite. According to Tom Rosmilia, vice president for WebSphere software, the suite will be available during the second quarter of 2008. It will feature modeling, monitoring, process accelerators and asset repository capabilities.
The product itself comes from IBM’s January purchase of AptSoft Inc. and it will be called IBM WebSphere Business Events. True to its name, there’s lots of event-driven architecture under the covers. That fits into the second generation SOA vision pitched by senior pice president and group executive for IBM Software Group Steve Mills. Beyond event-driven services he stressed high performance transaction systems, low latency, integrity and scalability as the most in-demand functionality for an SOA growing in size and responsibility.
As with most of his comments during the day, Mills made sure not to offer any magic bullets. In particular, he noted that an ESB alone won’t net you a working SOA.
“The very nature of this is bringing multiple things together to make an environment work,” he said. That sort of business process unity marks IBM’s current efforts. Mills noted that goal comes on the heels of an endemic condition where IT shops “have effectively fragmented the ownership of information technology across the company.”
Rosamilia urged users to “take an iterative approach. Build it up over time and make it little bit better with each pass because you won’t get it right the first time.”
Tomorrow the company plans the commercial launch of its REST-based Project Zero initiative.