Feeds

Is SOA getting boring?

Politics takes over from technology

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

At IBM’s annual Impact SOA bash last week, software group head Steve Mills stated that the next frontier for SOA is really not a frontier at all: it’s the basic blocking and tackling of getting Enterprise Service Bus backbones to deliver the high levels of ACID reliability and fault recovery now taken for granted with OLTP transaction systems.

In other words, when you start thinking about enterprise SOA, you’d better expect rollback, compensation, and high-availability features that are taken for granted with online transaction systems.

By comparison, IBM’s message last year was that it was time for SOA to graduate from IT and get driven by the business.

No matter, when we sat down with Mills afterward, we asked him if this meant that SOA was getting, well, kind of humdrum. No more quibbling about whose standard for federated identity to latch onto, what’s most important are the basics of enterprise systems. Replying tongue in cheek that SOA’s always been boring, Mills added that now, the question no longer centers over whether SOA will work. But he notes that with more moving parts, delivering that reliability presents more of a challenge.

Of course, it took about 20 years for enterprise databases to achieve that kind of rock-solid assurance, but applying the lessons learned should make that journey quicker today. Nonetheless, compared to database transactions, SOA could involve a far more complicated use case. For starters, there’s the architecture, which calls for a middle tier abstraction layer that separates the service from whatever physical systems implement it. Of course, you could argue that the golden age of transaction processing introduced its own middleware: transaction monitors.

Nonetheless, the dynamic nature of SOA, where services could be orchestrated and service providers swapped at run time, could make delivering ACID reliability for run-of-the-mill OLTP systems appear almost like child’s play. Troubleshooting could require serious detective work. For instance, when a customer history service that is composited from order history and account identifiers in ERP, and interaction history from CRM, where do you start looking when the service fails to execute?

There’s yet another parallel between SOA and the evolution of databases. Twenty years ago, there were debates over whether SQL databases could handle the load and deliver the performance of legacy databases or file systems. The answer was throwing Moore’s law at the problem. Today, there are similar questions regarding SOA, because if web services standards are used, that means a lot of fat, resource-hungry XML messages whizzing around. Mills’ answer is that there’s a glut of underutilized processing capacity out there and a crying need for virtualization to make that iron available for XML.

Obviously, SOA plays to IBM’s strengths - large systems, and ways to integrate them. But the world of run-time governance of SOA remains fragmented, which explained AmberPoint’s presence in the vendor exhibit area.

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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
FTDI yanks chip-bricking driver from Windows Update, vows to fight on
Next driver to battle fake chips with 'non-invasive' methods
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 ...
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
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.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.