Fellow ZDNet bloggers explore the hard road to SOA

Notice how nobody is disputing that something is holding back SOA? What is that something?

Notice how nobody is disputing that something is holding back SOA? What is that something?

Two ZDNet blogging colleagues recently provided their thoughts on this topic.

Dana Gardner, for one, says its hard to light a fire under businesses to get SOA moving.

TechTarget's Rich Seeley interviewed Dana about the inertia that plagues many SOA efforts.

Dana said that in his two decades of experience with IT, he's seen much talk about management standards, but like the weather, nothing gets done about them. SOA introduces more urgency, Dana adds. The demands of SOA are making demands on management that did not exist in the pre-SOA era which he characterizes as requiring a more simple "red light, green light" approach that indicated that the server or the application was either running or it was not.

Dana observed that while there are a lot of good tools and products now coming on the market, this is not enough for effective, profitable SOA. SOA success "is going to be a combination of people, process and machines and it's going to involve a lot more interoperability." Without a standard agreement on interoperability, Gardner sees the SOA management products becoming a management headache. "The last thing that enterprises want is the necessity of managing dozens of management systems and that's what a lot of these management vendors are forcing them to do."

Fellow ZDNet blogger Robin Harris, an admitted SOA skeptic because its not based on business metrics, is nonetheless upbeat about a deployment he recently learned about in Seattle. Amazon -- known to developers for its Web services offerings -- appears to be not only eating its own dogfood, but developing an extensive intrenal service orientation that may render traditional database technology obsolete.

Amazon's Werner Vogels and Swami Sivasubramanian presented at length on Amazon’s experience. They took the hard road to get to SOA, "because they’ve made every mistake in the book, starting with a hairball app, moving to a mainframe and finally a fully distributed SOA model," as Robin puts it.

He notes that every Amazon Web page calls on at least 150 services, noting that contracts are needed to cover service supply and demand -- a fundamental business requirement. As Robin puts it, "the most important statement of the day was when Werner noted that 'resource sharing without contracts kills scaling.' If your services can’t scale, your SOA dreams are DOA."