'SOA Link' group of vendors reinforces the ecology method of managed SOA

While comprehensive SOA governance remains a goal, and is recognized as a powerul and necessary concept, the more acute focus is on quality of service for mixed services.
Written by Dana Gardner, Contributor

An interesting group of SOA vendors, with a bent toward quality management and services integrity, has formed and recently expanded. Called SOA Link, the coalition is interesting not only for its emphasis, but its constituency. I'm at the JBoss conference in Las Vegas this week, and as JBoss is a member of SOA Link, I'll be probing into the implications.

Meanwhile, with HP and now Mindreef on board, the assemblage of associated capabilities is becoming impressive. In many ways a federated approach to SOA quality assurance and performance reliability makes much more sence in real practice than an all-in-one approach that breeds complexity in the name of reliability. I'm thinking of IBM, among others, here.

At a recent SOA panel I took part in in New York among Wall Street IT executives, the major concerns for now -- based on practicalities and not just vision -- are on properly resourcing the semantic wave of demand as these companies create, expose, and employ more services. And while comprehensive SOA governance remains a goal as they ramp up their SOA approaches, and is recognized as a powerful and necessary concept, the more acute focus is on quality of service for mixed services.

If an ecological grouping of vendors such as SOA Link can meet these tactical quality of integration issues head-on and actually engage with customers effectively as a federated solution -- avoiding the too many cooks in the kitchen and too many throats to choke difficulties -- they could well prove the value of the ecology approach in general for many more SOA endeavors. And they could allow their tactical prowess to go highly strategic over time.

It will be well worth watching how the SOA Link group grows and performs. It will help answer the major question of whether SOA is best accomplished with few vendors and a lot of systems integration help, or with a larger grouping of cooperative vendors that demand and encourage an internal core competency within the enterprise. Put another way, is SOA competency a core business value built upon a best-of-breed assemblage of solutions, or is something to outsource as a turnkey capability commodity?

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