Feeds

Is SOA getting boring?

Politics takes over from technology

High performance access to file storage

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.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
Microsoft: Windows version you probably haven't upgraded to yet is ALREADY OBSOLETE
Pre-Update versions of Windows 8.1 will no longer support patches
OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts
Bloke behind the cockup says not enough people are helping crucial crypto project
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Windows XP still has 27 per cent market share on its deathbed
Windows 7 making some gains on XP Death Day
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
US taxman blows Win XP deadline, must now spend millions on custom support
Gov't IT likened to 'a Model T with a lot of things on top of it'
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.