Can this fish grow legs? What biology can teach us about SOA

I've been following the technology industry for years now, and there's always been talk about a "revolution" or "evolution" underway.I've come to the conclusion that "revolution" has been too extreme of a term to describe most of the paradigm shifts we've seen, which therefore relegates most of these shifts to "evolutionary" status.

I've been following the technology industry for years now, and there's always been talk about a "revolution" or "evolution" underway.

I've come to the conclusion that "revolution" has been too extreme of a term to describe most of the paradigm shifts we've seen, which therefore relegates most of these shifts to "evolutionary" status.

But how close is SOA evolution to true biological evolution? Miko Matsumura, now deputy CTO for Software AG/webMethods, drew the comparisons in his keynote at this fall's SOA World conference in San Francisco.

Miko points out that the term "evolution" has been bandied about a little too freely, observing that "the concept of IT evolution has been extremely robustly co-opted by the IT industry….By many individuals who don’t necessarily know a lot about what evolution is."

Miko hit upon a truism that applies to both biological and IT evolution: that evolution does not occur as a form of advancement, but rather, as a form of survival. "Many talk about evolution in terms of advancement, but evolution is not about advancement," he points out. "It's about survival."

Miko discussed some other truisms: that biological evolution is a great conserver of resources. Likewise, just as many IT tools and methods have been carried over through the decades, and that SOA provides the diversity that helps in the survival process.

SOA also paves the way for newer approaches to solving business problems, such as Web 2.0 and mashups. By addressing and abstracting away the complexity of underlying systems, such new innovative approaches are possible, he says.

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