Feeds

More on IBM and SOA

Biggest change since client-server

Boost IT visibility and business value

Comment Further to my previous article resulting from IBM’s annual analyst Software Group conference, here are some more thoughts on what IBM was talking about.

One of the things that struck me, and which I am not sure that I have seen discussed anywhere, is that an SOA (service oriented architecture) solution is topologically equivalent to the earlier hub-and-spoke architecture employed by EAI (enterprise application integration) vendors such as Tibco, Sun (SeeBeyond) and WebMethods.

In SOA, all the services connect to an ESB (enterprise service bus) whereas in the traditional EAI environment all applications connect to the hub. So the hub equates to the bus and, indeed, the EAI vendors all support the use of ESBs nowadays as well as the more traditional hub-and-spoke approach.

So, what is the difference between SOA and hub-and-spoke? Simply, that the connections are much more easily defined because they make use of common standards (SOAP, WSDL and the like – not to mention the putative standards just announced by IBM and others for a service component architecture and service data objects) rather than having to be individually crafted for each connecting application. Actually, this is a lie. Standards are enablers not causes. Standards make it more viable for suppliers to develop tools that can automate the development of, in this case, web services.

That’s not the only difference. In traditional EAI what you were doing was connecting applications. With SOA the connectivity is performed at a much more granular level, typically at the level of business processes. This reflects another emphasis at the conference – on business process management as a fundamental element within SOA – if you don’t understand your business processes, how can you determine what you want to service enable?

The importance of business processes to SOA has a further corollary: that SOA therefore predicates business and organisational change. Moreover, IBM’s view is that the move to SOA has to be business-driven rather than IT-driven. The company’s view is that the user needs to select, at least initially, a project that can demonstrate clear business benefit. Once this has been successfully implemented and the benefits proven, then the business can go on to consider broadening the application of SOA in an incremental manner.

Going beyond this, IBM’s view (which seems entirely reasonable) is that if you don’t take this approach then you are likely to fail, either because the IT-driven initial project will not demonstrate any value or because you have taken on more than you can chew.

However, the over-riding impression left by this conference was how big SOA is. I don’t mean that in terms of hype (though that is also true) but about how many aspects of IT it touches. In this article I have not even mentioned the governance of SOA (both in development and deployment) or the monitoring of the environment (using Tivoli) and the composite applications you have created, for example, but these are equally as important to a successful SOA implementation as web services or SOAP. Ultimately, SOA touches the entire software infrastructure of the enterprise. IBM describes SOA as the biggest change to the industry since client/server: I am inclined to agree.

Copyright © 2005, IT-Analysis.com

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
KDE releases ice-cream coloured Plasma 5 just in time for summer
Melty but refreshing - popular rival to Mint's Cinnamon's still a work in progress
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
Another day, another Firefox: Version 31 is upon us ALREADY
Web devs, Mozilla really wants you to like this one
Put down that Oracle database patch: It could cost $23,000 per CPU
On-by-default INMEMORY tech a boon for developers ... as long as they can afford it
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Mozilla keeps its Beard, hopes anti-gay marriage troubles are now over
Plenty on new CEO's todo list – starting with Firefox's slipping grasp
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.