In previous blogs, we talked about the oxymoron of "SOA Suites" (SOA is supposed to free us from vendor lock-in, right?), and the growing tendency of vendors to want to package anything and everything into Big Honking SOA suites.
In a recently published interview at TechTarget, Cape Clear's Annrai O'Toole says new "hosted SOA" approaches may give Big SOA suites a run for their money, since they offer flexibility and agility without as much lock-in. He notes that both software as a service (SaaS) vendors and large enterprise IT shops are seriously considering hosted SOA (or hosted integration or integration as a service) as a way to rapidly plug into SOA standards and architecture on an as-needed basis.
Annrai points out that hosted SOA helps relieve IT shops of the impending shortage of enterprise and SOA architects, as well as remove the complexity of SOA. The big infrastructure vendors, doing things in their big infrastructure ways, have only made SOA more complicated than it should be, he said:
"Over the last year or so SOA's become a big topic for customers. As it's become a big topic, a lot of the big vendors have come in trying to make SOA a big vendor issue. To do that they've tried to make SOA very complicated. We've seen a lot of customers issue huge RFPs. These things are coming in and they're several inches thick. It would make a member of Congress blush and we just think that's all wrong."
But is the era of Big SOA really over? Well, hosted SOA is still only in its infancy, so we have a ways to go. Annrai points to Workday Inc., founded by former PeopleSoft executives, as the first example of hosted SOA that he's aware of. Workday hosts integration to services such as payroll systems provider ADP, hosting the integration between customers' payroll data and ADP. Expect to see more services like this, Annrai says.