Do SOA and enterprise architecture now mean the same thing?

Do SOA and enterprise architecture now mean the same thing?

Summary: Is it even possible to have enterprise architecture without considering service orientation on some level?


Dave Linthicum predicted a couple of years back that SOA would be absorbed into EA. SOA is just good EA, he said.

Is it even possible to have EA without considering service orientation on some level?

Has Dave's vision come to pass?  Is any discussion of SOA automatically a discussion of EA, and perhaps even the other way around as well?

Looking at the enterprise landscape, Loraine Lawson sees signs that this is coming to pass -- stating in her latest post that "in fact, it may very well be that your enterprise architecture will include SOA in its toolbox." And, for SOA practitioners, EA provides that big picture that is essential to bring value to the business. Fussing around with an ESB is not big-picture architecture.

As a side note, however, she throws up her hands around the confusion that comes from "IT's abuse of the word 'architecture,'" adding that "I really wish the term 'architecture' hadn't made its way into IT. I think it does nothing to clarify the huge language gap between technologists and the business. It's a confusing term because you automatically want to turn it into a metaphor, but, in fact, what IT means by architecture extends beyond that."

TOGAF to the rescue....  In the meantime, Pat Shepherd was able to shed some light on EA-SOA discussion, noting that TOGAF addresses the distinction:

EA: “the application of architectural discipline to the end-to-end enterprise, treating the enterprise or industry value-chain as a system.”

How EA provides to SOA Architects/Architecture: "What EA adds in an SOA context is a set of tools and techniques to link top-down business-led SOA to bottom-up developer-led SOA in a robust and maintainable way that addresses many of the non-technical challenges associated with SOA adoption.”

So there. Is this a good way to explain the converging disciplines of EA and SOA?  Also, is it likely that all major technology expressions these days have elements of service orientation about them, so EA automatically = SOA on some level?

Loraine also points to an interesting published interview (here and here) with Rick Sweeney, former Blue Cross/Blue Shield Massachusetts chief architect. More on this to come.

Has Dave Linthicum's statement come to pass?  Are service oriented architecture and enterprise architecture one in the same?

Topics: Browser, Enterprise Software, Software, Software Development

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  • It always did .... same as private cloud

    Nothing new except for the name.
  • RE: Do SOA and enterprise architecture now mean the same thing?

    No they are not the same, although they could potentially be complimentary.<br><br>Enterprise Architecture is a practice to describe the end to end functions in an enterprise and how the enterprise vision and strategy translate it into the various architecture layer (or perspective).
    <br><br>SOA on the otherhand, is an architecture blueprint of a solution that's service oriented, one that encourages re-usability and inter-operability.

    <br><br>That said, SOA could use the output of Enterprise Architecture practice as the key reference for implementation though.
  • RE: Do SOA and enterprise architecture now mean the same thing?

    Sadly they're also similar in that they're both nebulous and equally amenable to hand waving.