Eye on Oracle

Jan 19 2009   10:35PM GMT

SOA in ‘09: Dead, alive or in search of new meaning?

Shayna Garlick Shayna Garlick Profile: Shayna Garlick

January 1, 2009 could be considered a big day in the Oracle world — a fresh start, new year and the chance to start practicing your Oracle New Year’s resolutions, whether they be to focus on cloud computing, open source projects or virtualization.

But according to the Burton Group’s Anne Thomas Manes, there’s one thing you should keep off your resolution list this year. In fact, if you ask Manes, she has a whole new take on what Jan.1 marks:

The demise of SOA (service-oriented architecture).

In her recent blog post, “SOA is Dead, Long Live Services,” Manes writes that a recent downfall of SOA is a result of it being “wiped out by the catastrophic impact of the economic recession.”

But is there any truth to this?

While some of Manes’ readers agree with her, many others are skeptical. One commenter writes:

“It’s my feeling that a hurting economy will actually drive MORE adoption of SOA principles across an enterprise, not less… if your budget has been slashed (or will be slashed)… then I suggest that you MUST consider moving, albeit in a measured approach, towards knocking down the vertical application stovepipes and towards an SOA approach.”

Last spring — well before the start of the economic recession — SearchOracle.com surveyed nearly 500 readers about the priorities and challenges in their organizations. One of the questions asked about the readers’ SOA plans for 2008. An overwhelming majority (68%) said they either didn’t have or didn’t know their 2008 SOA plans, with the rest citing plans to implement SOA within the next three years.

Economy aside, it seems that SOA — or at least its meaning — is in a state of uncertainty. Manes goes on to say that the “great failed experiment” is “survived by its offspring: mashups, BPM, SaaS, Cloud Computing, and all other architectural approaches that depend on ‘services.'”

What do others think? Here are some more notable theories:

  • Dhananjay Nene, in his post SOA ain’t dead but it certainly is transforming, disagrees with Manes’ idea that rearchitecture is required for successful SOA. The software engineer says that SOA has “never been healthier” and is just going through a transformation that includes less enterprise control, vendor-driven hype and top down approaches.
  • Many just see this controversy as confusion or disagreement about what the term “SOA” actually means. Jack Vaughan of SearchSOA.com points out that Manes essentially said that “services are good; it’s just SOA that as a term is bad,” but that point seemed to be lost. Vaughan goes on to say: “There is a lot in a word, and SOA is not a bad one. It’s everyone’s job to build good apps and good integrations. If you feel like discarding SOA as a buzz word, go for it – no need to ‘kill’ it.”

And it sounds like Oracle is doing something right when it comes to SOA technology — whether built or bought, Oracle technology  was just positioned as a leader in three new Gartner Magic Quadrants, including Application Infrastructure for SOA Composite Application Projects and New Systematic SOA Application Projects.

What do you think of the term “SOA”? What are your SOA plans for 2009? Even if you aren’t planning for an SOA anytime soon, are you considering it in the long term? Is your organization taking any baby steps by buying products that are SOA-enabled or running any pilots? Or do you think that SOA is dead — or was never “alive” at all? Let us know what you think.

2  Comments on this Post

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  • Grant Czerepak
    Any architecture centered on any single aspect of business is destined to fail. SOA is just another example of this. I was never in support of SOA. I never saw Service centrism as a solution. Data centrism was equally bound to fail. Event centrism was bound to fail. All aspects of a system need to be addressed: Goals, Actors, Events, Locations, Services, Products, Units, Measures, Currency, Amounts. Until we develop an architecture that addresses this correctly, instead of seeking a panacea in centrism, we are destined to architect white elephants.
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  • osymad
    Architecture still being white elephant, i think SOA will change this 2009 to bring us a better (currently does not exists) integration between Customer requirements... but not only functional ones even business needs like deliveries, milestones and some other administrative contraints to build a quality architecture design. By the other hand SOA must be standarize its concepts to avoid misunderstanding between "Architects" , business analyst programmers and developers.
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