SOA Talk


November 29, 2012  6:34 PM

The value of API management

Brein Matturro Profile: Brein Matturro

Web APIs are multiplying as more retailers, media groups, governments and financial services firms start exposing them. At the same time, many companies are still resistant to API management, according to Paolo Malinverno, research vice president at Gartner. The problem with that, he said, is that using APIs is increasingly at the center of what goes on at the “nexus of forces,” Gartner’s term for the convergence of social, mobile, cloud and information. As a result, lack of management could mean serious loss of value.

“It is a fact that the number of APIs grows by the day and, with the explosion of mobile applications, APIs will be used more and more in the future,” Malinverno told a crowd at Gartner’s Application Architecture, Development & Integration Summit this week in Las Vegas.

He noted that daily API calls have skyrocketed into the billions for many well-known companies. Facebook, for example, saw 5 billion API calls per day in October 2009, while Twitter had 13 billion per day in May 2011.

“These companies better know who is calling,” cautioned Malinverno. “They better know how many calls per second they have to field, and they better know what sort of elasticity they need to demand from their cloud platforms to ensure that whoever uses their API is able to use it properly.”

API management is the way to do that, he said. Without it, businesses may lose out on value in their services and their APIs.

“API management is about making an API available on the Web for everybody that you want to use the API—enabling them to call it and get the result they want,” he explained. “Not everybody feels they need API management, but they do. The assessment of the value of the API is a part of API management.”

Malinverno also noted that SOA governance and API management are very closely tied—perhaps even the same. He said SOA governance is “the ability to link a specific intent of your business strategy to the way you develop and operate services.” He advised his audience to build a strong SOA governance strategy together with API management, to create what he called “application services governance.” -Stephanie Mann

November 29, 2012  3:56 AM

Meeting the growing need for apps

Jack Vaughan Jack Vaughan Profile: Jack Vaughan

IT is changing. And certain companies are going to face the changes better than others, Andy Kyte, Gartner vice president and research fellow, told a crowd at the Application Architecture, Development & Integration (AADI) Summit in Las Vegas. In particular, he said successful IT organizations are going to learn how to effectively manage information technology and meet a growing demand for applications.

“The growth for demand in application services over the next five years is not one or two percent,” he said. “It is massive and exponential. You have massive amounts of legacy applications that need to be modernized; demand is going up; and capacity to meet that demand is not increasing.”

Kyte noted that while user expectations are going up, the ability of businesses to meet those expectations seems to be going down. From the financial crisis to the burgeoning cost of information technology and the need to deliver agile responses faster than ever, many CEOs and CIOs are struggling with how to keep their organizations competitive—or even afloat.

He said companies should follow these disciplines of highly productive IT organizations in order to succeed:

  1. Break down legacy culture: Instead of having many competitive teams, highly productive IT organizations have lots of teams that are all focused on a common set of objectives. They collaborate and work together toward a shared goal.
  2. Flatten the application development organizational structure: Create a culture of many equals, without emphasis on titles or positions. This will foster respect, and promote shared ownership and responsibility for methodologies and processes.
  3. Build the right software: Highly productive IT organizations have good processes for understanding what is really needed, and when. They put effort into the right things. That means insisting on clarity about nonfunctional requirements before technology selection.

Kyte also stressed the importance of taking a holistic view of the entire life of a system, as opposed to fixating on one of its components. – Stephanie Mann


November 28, 2012  7:06 PM

Gartner AADI takeaway: Disruptive forces change IT game

Jack Vaughan Jack Vaughan Profile: Jack Vaughan

This week in Las Vegas, over 1,000 IT professionals, analysts and practitioners gathered at Caesars Palace to discuss top trends at Gartner’s Application Architecture, Development & Integration (AADI) Summit. The theme of this year’s event is game-changing, an idea centered on what Gartner calls “the nexus of forces.” Gartner’s key point: social, mobile, cloud and information are converging to change technology at every level.

“I believe we all realize that we’re in a pivotal moment in the evolution of technology,” said Gartner group vice president and team manager Jeff Schulman during the summit’s keynote address. “The game is changing.”

Session topics at the event ranged from mobile application development and application integration strategy, to how master data management should drive application architecture. Attendees showed interest in Gartner’s industry perspective on the impact of trends like mobile and cloud at the enterprise level.

“I’m an enterprise architect and I’m here to learn how to prepare our company for the future,” said Dave Bradshaw, an enterprise architect at an insurance company. “I want to learn what Gartner has to say about mobile strategies, the cloud and a little bit about big data.”

Jon Ah You, an IT enterprise application manager at a large oil company, echoed that idea: “My interest is in better understanding mobile strategies, and getting in tune with what’s happening with them in application development,” he said.

Notably, the term ‘big data’ is hard to come by at this year’s AADI event. According to Schulman, that’s no accident. “A lot of the information professionals I’ve talked to don’t trust the term [big data] or don’t like it. The information piece is larger than big data, it’s really about ‘big context’—getting the right info to the right person at the right time.”

Mobile—once second to cloud— took the spotlight during the event’s keynote. When Schulman asked how many attendees had more than two wireless devices with them this week, nearly all hands in the room shot into the air.

Chris Howard, a Gartner chief of research, used this as an example of mobile’s tremendous impact on human behavior and, consequently, on IT.

“You have to create architectures that will deliver the experience to the user—to the device that makes them productive,” he said. “This is really consumerization plus democratization of technology. How prepared are you to deliver this in your environment?” – Stephanie Mann


November 28, 2012  2:37 AM

SOA influences modern data integration

Jack Vaughan Jack Vaughan Profile: Jack Vaughan

SOA is far from being the new technology kid on the block. But once it was. Now it is an older kid, and a practical approach to fielding a host of other new technologies. It should not be overstated, but, especially in the SOA services form known as “REST,” SOA is a foundational element of cloud computing, mobile applications and the branch of data integration that is being called operational BI.

The time is winding down on 2012, and we were going through some reporter’s notebooks. Seems that earlier this year, when we caught up with David Besemer, Chief Technical Officer, CTO, Composite Software, he had some interesting comments on SOA’s role, now that it is a more mature practice.

“SOA got a lot of attention three or four years ago. Then it seemed to have waned a bit. But while the waning of the hype occurred, there were projects that showed people getting practical use out of services and APIs,” said Besemer. Among the practical uses he pointed to are new types of data integrations.

Besemer, whose special interest is data integration, said there is a change in focus going on; it is moving things away from a sole preoccupation with the data warehouse.  Cloud, big data, and analytical appliances, got the ball rolling, to the point where services-enabled technologies began eating at the edges of the data warehouse.

Non-technical business imperatives are driving the need for decoupled services in broader and broader swaths of computing. Business imperatives are calling for something faster than a data warehouse at times. Said Besemer: “All of the members of the enterprise architecture team are struggling to deliver on requests from the business in regard to data sets.” It is the data that the business needs to make decisions.

The name SOA may be heard less frequently these days. But the idea of abstracted, decoupled services is at the heart of the latest data integration advances. – Jack Vaughan


November 9, 2012  5:56 PM

Integration tool set improves XBRL support

Jack Vaughan Jack Vaughan Profile: Jack Vaughan

Integration development managers face a broad array of intimidating jobs these days as they are asked to field corporate technology initiatives. Such initiatives are varied. These can range from the meshing of Java and XML efforts to EDI mapping, from marshaling Excel data into XML to the support of SEC-mandated XBRL initiatives and more. Integration development team members that the manager oversees have often been left to navigate a vast array of open source utilities to deal with these diverse requirements.

But there are also commercial tools available to tackle the problems. Among the tools that help development teams tackle modern integration jobs is Altova’s MissionKit. The latest version of the tool set adds interesting features that target the needs of the day.

Altova’s recently released MissionKit 2013 suite includes updates to its XML Spy tools that offer intelligence assistance for dealing with validation errors: updates to MapForce to support mapping for SQL stored procedures as well as an enhanced API for integrations into Java programs; and updates to its UModel tool that cover UML 2.4 and SysML 1.2. Importantly, UModel and other tools in the suite have improved support for XBRL and its most recent US-GAAP taxonomy, version 2012.

At release time, we talked to long-time industry analyst Peter O’Kelly about the trends driving these tools. Altova’s product line has evolved greatly since planting its original roots as an XML domain tool, said O’Kelly, who served as Altova’s product marketing manager and evangelist.

“It has expanded. It’s not just for people who work with XML,” said O’Kelly who now serves as principal analyst at O’Kelly Assoc.

The toolset tries to buffer developers from underlying complexity, he said, because teams always have to map between legacy and new technologies.  It is important to bring users a consistent framework, said O’Kelly.


November 8, 2012  8:54 PM

Axway goes after Vordel

Jack Vaughan Jack Vaughan Profile: Jack Vaughan

B2B software company Axway said it will acquire Vordel, the SOA security gateway company that has recently come to include cloud, mobile and social networking support in its offerings. The move will expand Axway’s data governance portfolio, combining Axway’s current managed file, B2B and integration capabilities with Vordel’s API management, SOA governance and identity management technologies. Continued »


November 1, 2012  8:50 PM

Decoupled design of the Web API kind

Jack Vaughan Jack Vaughan Profile: Jack Vaughan

When WCF started, the focus was on decoupling. That was a basic SOA tenet, and Microsoft, though it was not that big a singer in the SOA choir, took those principles to heart in formulating .NET design patterns. Of course, the REST dialect of SOA has gained traction. REST can’t exactly be called “decoupled” because it is so much about HTTP. In a recent article on SearchSOA.com, we look at updates to WCF, but there is consideration of ASP.NET’s Web API for REST as well.


October 26, 2012  2:17 AM

Gartner ITxpo: Cisco sets goal to double software revenue

Jack Vaughan Jack Vaughan Profile: Jack Vaughan

A few years after some less than some less than momentous forays into XML and Web services software, network equipment provider Cisco has not yet thrown in the towel on software. Instead, the company intends to double its software revenues in the next five years, long time company leader John Chambers told Gartner ITxpo attendees this week in Orlando, Fla.

“You are going to see us move on software on multiple fronts,” he said. Chambers took part in a lighting round interview led by Gartner analysts. The message was that Cisco is confident it can exploit cloud computing, mobility and the Internet of everything – all of which are technologies that can converge to displace present standard software architectures. Big data, too, could be a Cisco sweet spot, if it is highly distributed.

“You want to make decisions on big data in realtime. You want big data in motion,” said Chambers. That means “moving architecture and distribution out,” he said. As hardware giant Cisco embraces software, Chambers shows no surprise that software companies like Oracle, Microsoft and Google Oracle have of late taken the plunge into hardware “If you only have the software you cant move at the same speed that someone will all the pieces- hardware and software – can,” he said. – Jack Vaughan


October 18, 2012  2:35 PM

High-speed trading: Time to take a breath?

Jack Vaughan Jack Vaughan Profile: Jack Vaughan

Low-latency messaging, complex event processing, big data, operational business intelligence and other high-powered technologies must be considered by IT leaders looking to achieve competitive edge. But most IT leaders know such systems come at a price, and they must be subjected to the same ROI considerations any other business effort must endure. Continued »


October 18, 2012  2:17 PM

OMG DDS makes SOA approach available for real-time embedded systems

Jack Vaughan Jack Vaughan Profile: Jack Vaughan

Integrating disparate computing systems is by no means an easy task. Integration is one of the most important reasons to focus on Web services in enterprise architecture. Standards like SOAP and REST make it less difficult to get various applications and components talking to each other. However, these protocols are not without latency costs. Continued »


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