Virtualization and SOA

Virtualization and SOA

Summary: "The word architecture is generally quite misleading for describing what most companies have today," write John Hagel and John Seely Brown in their new book The Only Sustainable Edge. "Architecture calls forth images of the neat schematics of an architect who is carefully thinking through in advance all the needs of the occupants of a building and designing a structure that optimally meets these needs.

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TOPICS: Hardware
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"The word architecture is generally quite misleading for describing what most companies have today," write John Hagel and John Seely Brown in their new book The Only Sustainable Edge. "Architecture calls forth images of the neat schematics of an architect who is carefully thinking through in advance all the needs of the occupants of a building and designing a structure that optimally meets these needs." edge

As the authors explain, "Today's IT architectures are far better described with a geological metaphor -- imagine geological sediments accumulating, one on top of the other, in different continents. The sediments are the various generations of IT that have been deployed in large enterprises -- mainframes, minicomputers, desktop computers, servers and mobile access devices in terms of computing power and equivalent generations of electronic networks. Rather than ripping out previous generations of technology and designing greenfield architecture to more effectively exploit the capabilities of new technology, companies deployed new technology next to existing platforms. Where necessary, they implemented custom-designed connections to create a semblance of integration. These custom connections were also necessary to bridge departmental silos and enterprise firewalls..."

Unfortunately, these hardwired connections and ponderous approaches have failed to make IT capable of adapting to the dynamic changes occurring within hyper-competitive, global markets. To address this challenge, Hagel and Seely Brown offer an elegant way of looking at the solution. They argue that virtualization architectures will enable us to orchestrate and leverage distributed hardware resources, while service-oriented architectures -- based on the loosely coupled connections we know and love -- will enable us to marshal software resources.

While virtualization promises to simplify the hardware management task and make computing resources "highly adaptable," SOA promises to help break down the "prison walls" erected by conventional software application platforms -- making software resources more flexibly available.

"Both of these emerging technology architectures depend on, and in turn help reinforce, the trend toward increasing commoditization of hardware and software components," they conclude. "Commoditization of the underlying technology components allows companies to reconfigure the arrangement of these components, as business needs change. Paradoxically, this commoditization facilitates new and more flexible technology architectures that increase, rather than diminish, the potential for strategic differentiation of the businesses deploying these commodity components."  

 

 

Topic: Hardware

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  • The problem is

    the theoretical framework for SOA and such "virtualized" architectures is deeply flawed.

    It is very difficult of course to get a clear and coherent picture of what SOA is because it lacks any clear theoretical position. However in essence it looks like yet another reiteration of the object orientated approaches put forward for CORBA and .NET. Now, I would say this approach so far has not had many takers in system integration. The main reason being that it is fundamentally a method of integration that is designed for programmers and does not give end users flexible access to their data.

    SOA offers only types as an interface and not relations (and consequently no relational operators for manipulating data). In fact one gets a very strong impression that the SOA camp lacks the fundamental logical training to understand the difference between types and relations.

    In essence all SOA will create is another unmanageable layer on top of all the other layers. It will stay on top only until the next layer of sedimentary hyperbole buries it.
    jorwell
    • The problem is ... a lack of first principle architecture!

      You are absolutely correct.

      SOA is just another lagecy layer bult on top of multiple layers of
      loose and conflicting language and general systems concepts.
      This good enough solution will only serve to maintain the full
      employment for programmers and marginally moves the state-
      of-the-art forward incrementally.

      Someone or some group needs to hit the big reset button in the
      sky already and completely reengineer the network stack by
      conpressing the network layers 4 through 7 and deploy a true
      network operating environment based upon a context
      processing architecture.
      SandyKlausner
      • Not sure what you mean

        I am glad you agree that SOA lacks a coherent theoretical framework.

        However I am very unclear what networking has to do with it.

        In principle, I agree that there could be single integrated logical presentation of a company's data but it certainly shouldn't be based on the methods that SOA appears to be advocating (object orientation and XML as far as I can tell).
        jorwell