Feeds

IBM has moment of SOA clarity

Think modular, not monolithic

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Intelligent flash storage arrays

IBM's head of software hit the SOA trail Wednesday, bringing IBM's version of "clarity" to the debate on SOAs and encouraging ISVs to turn their applications into modular suites.

Steve Mills spoke to journalists ahead of a customer event in San Francisco, California, on Wednesday, to press the line hat IBM has a lead in Service Oriented Architectures (SOAs).

Helping drive the message was news of a $94m, 10-year consulting and technology SOA deal with Fireman's Fund Insurance, to consolidate up to 70 per cent of the US west-coast-based company's applications and put more business online. IBM also announced ERP specialist Lawson Software will next year start to integrate its back office suite with IBM's WebSphere middleware, DB2, Rational and Tivoli software.

Mills said he was using his San Francisco trip to explore SOAs, layout a roadmap for IBM's technology, take feedback and help some of IBM's largest and most sophisticated customers understand what IBM is delivering. "We often get some deviated definitional ideas floating around," he said of SOA, before giving IBM's definition.

A SOA is, according to Mills, an application infrastructure that integrates business processes, re-uses existing assets and allows applications to act as a service, serving the needs of the business. To reach the SOA nirvana, customers must first understand their processes, then model those processes into code, and then use orchestration, workflows and choreography for data and transactions to flow.

SOAs are not about one single piece of technology. "In an industry hunting for the next widget this evolution is about the application of technology to the business problem in the broadest contest, it's no longer about the individual gadget," Mills said

As such, Mills said ISVs should stop turning out blocks of product and make applications modular, able to "combine and recombine... in new composite ways that might not be possible following monolithic design structures."

It's important for the application vendors to make the right boundary choices the customers don't want an "endless bucket of bolts," Mills added.

Surprisingly, for the owner of a large services operation, people do not figure in IBM's SOA nirvana. When asked about revenue from its SOA business, Mills said IBM is using WebSphere, Tivoli and Rational to tackle the $600bn labor cost overhead associated with in-house software customization. "Customers are looking for technologies that automate and displace that labor," Mills said.

An uncomfortable looking Mills did indicate, though, IBM expects to benefit in its services and products businesses as customers' move to SOA. "Proportionately, services is a larger part of the industry and IBM than is software... most customers' money goes to purchase labor today. That's the reality and a statement of the challenge," Mills said.

Mill's appearance in San Francisco comes amid increased concern that vendors like IBM are hindering the cause of SOAs by using different - even conflicting - definitions.

Industry standards group the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) last week announced a committee to develop a reference model for providing a basic definition of SOA.

IBM was missing from the committee's original line-up - like the majority of enterprise software companies who claim they provide SOA products. IBM has, though, applied for membership since then. ®

Related stories

OASIS to define SOA
IBM shuffles top execs
IBM buys Rational for $2.1bn

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Preview redux: Microsoft ships new Windows 10 build with 7,000 changes
Latest bleeding-edge bits borrow Action Center from Windows Phone
Google opens Inbox – email for people too thick to handle email
Print this article out and give it to someone tech-y if you get stuck
Microsoft promises Windows 10 will mean two-factor auth for all
Sneak peek at security features Redmond's baking into new OS
UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan
'Veteran Unix Admins' fear desktop emphasis is betraying open source
Entity Framework goes 'code first' as Microsoft pulls visual design tool
Visual Studio database diagramming's out the window
Google+ goes TITSUP. But WHO knew? How long? Anyone ... Hello ...
Wobbly Gmail, Contacts, Calendar on the other hand ...
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.