Seven SOA experts explain how to 'just do it'

How to get around SOA paralysis by analysis

"No one thinks it all through at once. No one puts all the pieces in place perfectly. But once on the right path, it is more straightforward than it first seems, and additional pieces fall into place logically." Implemntors Guide to SOA

I recently had the honor of emceeing the launch of a new book called An Implementor's Guide to SOA: Getting It Right. (The Webcast can be accessed here at the Composite Software site.)

The beauty of the book is that it's a quick read, and drills right down to the essentials of getting moving with SOA. As author and editor Jim Green, CEO of Composite Software, explained, he purposely kept the length of the book to about 100 pages. "We wanted to write something that could be absorbed over the course of a coast-to-coast airplane ride," he said.

That wasn't an easy task, since he was also incorporating chapters from six other well-known SOA experts-- including Paul Butterworth, Luc Clement, Hemant Ramachandra, Jeff Schneider, Hub Vandervoort, and David Besemer.

The theme of the book?  I can boil it down to three words (to quote Nike): "Just Do It." It doesn't matter what kind of SOA budget you have, or even if you have a budget at all -- there are still practical steps you can take today to get started.

In fact, one of the most powerful messages coming out of the book is that SOA is not a luxury reserved for the corporations with the deepest pockets. SOA is something everyone can take advantage of and benefit from. You don’t need to get caught up in trying to boil the ocean. Transformation starts with small steps, and SOA success will happen in increments.

Service-orienting large-scale systems cannot be fully thought through in the early stages, Jim Green said. One of SOA's greatest failures is that it often is subjected to paralysis by analysis. "The longer that you ponder the imponderables as you plan, the lower the probability of your success."

Some snippets of the key recommendations coming out of the book:

  • Getting Started: "Don't let anyone overwhelm you by trying to reach you everything at once."
  • Designing Services: "Base your services on vendor independent industry standards to ensure the best reuse and interoperability."
  • Registries and Repositories: "Recognize the importance of documenting and maintaining a formal system of record of your services, their revisions, and their service level agreements."
  • Enterprise Service Buses: "Analyze your interoperability issues and determine whether you will need an ESB to reconcile incompatibilities."
  • Runtime Management: "Understand and control your service network -- detect, diagnose, and ultimately prevent problems that arise during the operation of the service network."
  • Preparing the Organization: "Set up and empower centralized groups to enforce governance and evolve them as needed."
  • Assessing SOA Skills: "Develop a training roadmap that integrates with your SOA strategy."