Microsoft certainly has taken its knocks for not "getting" SOA. (Covered at this blogsite here and here.) But it seems to be taking a more forward-looking role in the future direction of service-orientation -- looking beyond the firewall, supporting inter-enterprise as well as intra-enterprise service delivery and consumption.
SOAs without borders?
As recently reported in InfoWorld, the vendor has announced the 12th release of the Community Technology Preview for its BizTalk Services platform (or what it once called its "Internet Service Bus"). This version incorporates workflow-enabling service orchestration from the cloud, which "can connect to enterprise systems or to systems running anywhere on the Internet." BizTalk Services also includes identity and messaging services.
Steven Martin, senior director of product management for the Microsoft Connected Systems Division, is quoted in the article as saying that "the workflow technology allows me to define the interaction between those services... As more customers are rolling out SOA in their organizations, the need to define the [interactions] of the services that traverse the firewall is very important."
SOA will increasingly draw resources from across the network, as enterprises become both providers and consumers of services. Some services will support business processes, others will support the SOA itself. While there has been discussion about the differences between Software as a Service and SOA (see yesterday's post), SOA has the potential to become very much a SaaS play at a more atomic level. Users or applications will be consuming individual services from the cloud, versus entire application modules.
UPDATE: ZDNet colleague Mary Jo Foley has just posted details on Microsoft's cloud strategy, called "SCOPE."