Can SOA rescue us from smelly technology?

The greatest SOA story never told?
Written by Joe McKendrick, Contributing Writer

DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc., producer of the Shrek trilogy (number 3 is due out next year), has just made the leap into SOA. According to InformationWeek's Laurie Sullivan, the production company recently announced a transition to SOA "to simplify and consolidate key business operations."

So, was DreamWorks able to take its smelly green monster -- in the form of 12 legacy ERP applications running on Sun servers -- and make it a bit more handsome?

It appears that the journey was successful, and only took six months, to boot. The applications were migrated to Linux running on HP servers, with an Oracle database and JBoss middleware.

Abe Wong, head of IT for DreamWorks Animation, cites the reusability of SOA-based components as the greatest advantage coming out of the project. "We can increase the speed to write and deploy new applications with many of the reusable components that's now part of the architecture," he is quoted as saying. "For example, we reused the same employee authentication SOA component for all 12 applications we developed."

The SOA model also supports company directories, employee bulletin boards, vacation requests, and cafeteria menus, the article said. It also supports a new copyright-tracking application with authorization and authentication features for incoming film scripts.

Some people accuse SOA of being a fairy tale, but there's hope, no matter how ugly your technology is.

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