Four SOA myths: Web services, technology, costs, and registry

My colleague over at ebizQ, Gian Trotta, recently sat down with Randy Heffner of Forrester Research to talk about some of the misconceptions that are sabotaging efforts to build out service-oriented architectures these days. (Link to podcast interview and transcript here.

My colleague over at ebizQ, Gian Trotta, recently sat down with Randy Heffner of Forrester Research to talk about some of the misconceptions that are sabotaging efforts to build out service-oriented architectures these days. (Link to podcast interview and transcript here.)

Some of the leading myths include the following:

SOA and Web services are one in the same. Many companies still will not divorce Web services from SOA, Heffner says. Companies still make the mistake of viewing the two concepts as one single endeavor, thus sabotaging their best efforts. "Instead, view SOA as a broad set of design concepts centering on your major business processes and transactions. View Web services as one set of application-to-application communication protocols by which to access your services."

SOA is a technology. "That's a very small view of SOA," says Heffner. What's more important is the idea of SOA as a business design to enable strategic transformation and flexibility to optimize processes, which is the higher level view of SOA.

SOA will cost a lot. You don't necessarily need to buy loads of new products that break the bank in order to do SOA, Heffner says. "While it's true that you may eventually buy enterprise services buses and SOA management and repositories and appliances and such, you may well be able to get started on SOA and achieve strong business benefits without buying anything new."

SOA governance is about the registry. "The real treat within an SOA registry repository solution is not the registry, but the workflow and the service lifecycle tools around the repository," Heffner said. That's what gets you a start on what makes SOA successful -- strong governance and organizational maturity to use a repository in the right way.

Heffner will be diving into these details at his upcoming keynote at ebizQ's "SOA in Action" virtual conference, scheduled for October 30-31.

I will also be leading a session at the event, a panel discussion entitled: "SOA and Web 2.0: Mashups, SaaS, and Collaboration: Putting the Pieces Together." The premise is that SOA and Web 2.0 share common goals, and there is enormous potential for Web 2.0 to accelerate SOA efforts. But how do we connect the dots between Web 2.0 and SOA? SOA and SaaS, for example, share common frameworks. Then there's the enhanced collaboration SOA developers and architects can achieve as a result of Web 2.0 tools. Then there's the mashup scenario, in which end-users can build their own applications -- the ultimate vision of SOA. Finallly, front-end environments such a Ajax and other rich client interfaces may help extend the "last mile" of SOA to the desktop.

So join me at the conference, and along with a panel of distinguished experts (to be announced), we'll figure out how to put those pieces together.

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