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Cisco SONA

Cisco caught my attention by asking me if I wanted to see the results of a study indicating how organizations are seeing Web 2.0 and/or Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) application adoption.
Written by Dan Kusnetzky, Contributor on

Cisco caught my attention by asking me if I wanted to see the results of a study indicating how organizations are seeing Web 2.0 and/or Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) application adoption. Having executed dozens of studies of this nature while I was at IDC, I was interested in the results, but even more interesting to me was the methodology. While this study was only representative of people at a specific event, the results can not been seen as representing the views of the market as a whole.

Here are some of the conclusions presented by the study

  • Web 2.0 application usage is expected to rise. Although the largest percentage of use is for internal applications, use of external applications is also growing dramatically
  • As one would expect of a study sponsored by Cisco, the results show that the respondents think that the infrastructure to support those applications is not in place.
  • Why would this be? The study attempts to answer that as well. The respondents indicated that the network team is not involved in the application deployment process. Furthermore, the study pointed out that this may be attributed to the fact that 40% of the IT groups are decentralized. The study also pointed out that 25% of the respondent's organization has decentralized budgeting and 40% of the respondents said that IT budgeting was on a project basis making it difficult for cross-project investments to be made (such as setting up the needed network infrastructure).

What a surprise, Cisco has a solution!

After the study results were presented, the Cisco folks went on to discuss their Service Oriented Network Architecture (SONA). Here are some of the things that the Cisco folks said about SONA:

More than ever, IT organizations are under pressure to improve profitability by linking technology implementations to business objectives. We believe that as the backbone for IT communications, the network element of your enterprise architecture is increasingly critical.

The Service-Oriented Network Architecture (SONA) framework is the cornerstone of Cisco's architectural approach. This can help:

  • Design advanced network capabilities into your infrastructure
  • Provide guidance for connecting network services to applications to enable business solutions.
  • Offer proven best practices and blueprints for success.

Working within your existing enterprise architecture framework, Cisco's network-based services are among the reusable assets that help to lower operating costs, increase productivity, and generate new revenue streams. Reusing core services available in your network, you can develop, deploy and distribute applications and solutions faster across your enterprise.

Snapshot Analysis

The leap from the research to the product presentation was a bit jaring, but it does appear that if one accepts the conclusions of the research, Cisco's SONA could be a useful foundation for large organizations. If one finds the research suspect, full scale adoption of Cisco's approach wouldn't be likely. In my view, the sample was way too small and was not broad enough for me to come to any conclusion other than the folks who answered the questions tended to support Cisco's views. It is not at all clear that a broader, more representative sample would agree with Cisco's research.

It certainly does seem that Cisco's SONA has some very appealing qualities. It would also be wise, from my vantage point, for an organization to learn what others are offering as the backbone of their architecture before committing to Cisco's approach.

In the end, Cisco's approach may be the best for a specific organization's requirements. It would be better carefully consider all of the approaches available before committing to a single vendor's approach.

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