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How to kick-start 'depressingly low' SOA service consumption

Dion Hinchcliffe says SOA is underused, over-engineered, and slow to change. Time for a more lightweight Web approach?
Written by Joe McKendrick, Contributing Writer on

Has the time come for a change in the way we do SOA?

Dion Hinchcliffe, ZDNet's resident Enterprise Web guru, has posted an interesting analysis of the state of service oriented architecture, and what it will take to kick-start it into the future. SOA has a couple of issues that is keeping it from reaching its potential, Dion wrote in new post over at ebizQ.

  • First, the velocity of SOA seems too slow to keep up with the rapid changes buffeting organizations:
  • Second, SOA service consumption remains at "depressingly low" levels;
  • Third, SOA projects tend to be over-engineered.

What's a beleaguered SOA proponent to do?  Time to move to a new level, Dion says: Web Oriented Architecture. Dion calls WOA a "parallel track" for SOA that's evolved in the more open Internet space, versus behind the opaque walls of corporate enterprises. Or as Dion puts it: WOA has grown "organically in the wilds of the online world to meet many of the same challenges that we have in our organizations today."

Dion defines WOA in terms of open APIs, such as we see in cloud-based or Enterprise 2.0 services. WOA will help SOA reach its next level of performance. Ways we will see this evolve is the trend toward running SOA more like a business in itself; cheap, lightweight service delivery models; and access via REST-based interfaces and mashups.

The WOA approach makes a lot of sense, in no small part because of its relative simplicity and cost-effectiveness. SOA evolves from being an IT-centric megaproject to a series of initiatives in which business end-users can partake. Yes, there are many instances where iron-clad SOAP Web services are required. But everyone is already doing mashups, and the extended enterprise may benefit from the rise of WOA.

Dion will be talking about the SOA-WOA evolution at the SOA in Action conference I will be emceeing October 28-29.

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