Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Issues with SOA Adoption

Here is my attempt to identify some of the reasons for failure to adopt SOA. This time the focus is on not having a holistic SOA enabling infrastructure.

Many large enterprises try to reduce vendor-lock by not having a single provider for their entire SOA development/ deployment stack. This philosophy works great from a risk management perspective. However, this risk management strategy directly competes with the “speed to market” gains promised by SOA.

1. Not having a unified platform that facilitates seamless integration across the service orchestration layer, the application layer, the data layer etc. leads to long system integration and debugging cycles
2. Not having a centralized facility for the end to end management and monitoring of services can cause long outages and hampers the ability to track information/ transactions flowing across the various layers of the service architecture (i.e. service orchestration layer, the application layer/ business logic layer, the data layer etc.)
3. Not having a holistic SOA governance suite that enable discovery of existing service assets at design time and that provides service utilization information at runtime causes service proliferation issues

The following blog by my colleague and co-blogger Yogish prompted me to address this issue as it speaks to Oracle/ BEA integration strategy two big names in the space of SOA infrastructure.

Analysis on Oracle’s BEA integration strategy

In lieu of the one year anniversary of Yogish’ blog I am being optimistic in assuming that this acquisition will lead to the creation of a holistic SOA platform that encompasses service interactions at design time and runtime. I am also hopeful that a single SOA platform will provide seamless integration across various layers of the architecture as in the service orchestration/ mediation layer, the business logic/ application logic layer and the data layer. In addition, my hope is that a stronger player such as Oracle (following the BEA acquisition) would start pushing for “SOA standards” and start holding other SOA players accountable for staying compliant with these (in much the same way that the other vendors would now be putitng more pressure on a stronger SOA contender such as Oracle (following the BEA acquisition) to abide by these same standards. This "peer pressure" will hopefully make interoperability an achievable goal.

In the event Oracle is able to pull together a holistic SOA stack then here are some advantages for its' customers -

1. Having one vendor support the end to end stack enables a customer to find the right support whether it be from the perspective of SOA product suite integration or from the perspective of availability of the right tooling to enable and enterprise to cut down its' service lifecycle timeline (service design, service deployment) and improve its' time to market.
2. Having a player such as Oracle that has traditionally focused on scalability, reliability and end to end monitorability will provide customers with a SOA platform that is robust enough to meet the stringent SLAs at runtime while making service availability more predictable and less of a guess work at runtime
3. Having one vendor provide a holistic service governance suite will allow an enterprise to reuse its enterprise service assets (if authored appropriately) thus enabling the business to compose existing services to offer new capabilities.

In conclusion, I want to state that I do not align with Oracle or any other SOA player but merely want to comment on issues that have hampered SOA adoption and how these might be addressed. I believe that a unified SOA infrastructure platform will be a key capability needed to truly realize the full potential of SOA.

Thanks for listening.
surekha -

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