Forrester: SOA thriving; but interest in ESBs slips

Only one percent of enterprises with SOA efforts underway have any intention of cutting back.

A new survey of 2,165 companies, compiled by a team led by Forrester Research's Randy Heffner, finds that interest in service oriented architecture remains strong, despite today's emphasis on cloud computing, mobile applications, and social networking.

Only 1% of SOA sites have any intention of cutting back

There is no evidence of anyone scaling back on SOA, as found in previous Forrester surveys from last year and 2009. About seven out of ten enterprises (1,000 or more employees) have SOA efforts in place or are planning to pursue such efforts, 77% of this group are "satisfied" with their SOA efforts, and 31% say that SOA has "delivered most or all the benefits they expected." Only 1% say that SOA has provided little or no benefit and they are cutting back.

Forrester also finds that utilities, telecom, finance and insurance lead in SOA adoption, while SOA is less prevalent among SMB public sector and healthcare organizations.

Among the four major SOA specialty products, there has been a notable shift away from ESBs, Heffner's team reports. ESBs are at the bottom of the interest list among enterprises, behind SOA service lifecycle management software, SOA appliances/gateways, and SOA management tools.

They offer an explanation, observing that the other types of solutions are usurping ESBs' advantages:

"SOA management addresses the 'make SOA more robust' need by focusing on visibility, reliability, and availability of SOA services. SOA management products also typically provide security, policy management, and light mediation capabilities, all of which substitute for certain ESB functions. SOA appliances address the 'make SOA simpler' need. Like ESBs, they also provide security, policy management, and mediation, but in a simpler package that is easier to 'drop in' and quickly enter into production operation."

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