SOA too complex for many businesses

Ovum study finds that style of IT management is key to SOA satisfaction
Written by Andy McCue, Contributor

Businesses are struggling to cope with the complexity of implementing a service-oriented architecture (SOA), according to a new study by analyst firm Ovum.

Ovum's survey of 333 US IT decision-makers found that 27 percent of large enterprises and 17 percent of medium-sized companies have SOA operationally deployed in at least some areas of the IT infrastructure.

But satisfaction with the results is patchy, with almost one in five of the total sample saying SOA has created unexpected complexity.

The problem, according to Ovum, is that traditional IT management processes and tools are not always up to the task of monitoring and managing SOA applications and that SOA deployments require as much support and investment in infrastructure management as they do in developer kits and testing tools.

Mary Johnston Turner, vice president at Ovum's Summit research unit, said it is important to approach SOA as part of a broader infrastructure architecture and management programme, rather than as a standalone application.

She said: "It's a modular transition. It's really thinking very differently about the IT organisation's roles and responsibilities."

The Ovum survey found a high correlation between a business' level of satisfaction with SOA and their commitment to managing IT as a set of services. Examples of best practice amongst leading-edge adopters include IT infrastructure library (Itil), service desks, asset and configuration management tools, IT portfolio management tools and business service management performance monitoring dashboards.

Johnston Turner said: "Itil provides a very well-defined framework for operational business processes in a number of areas. That's a great way to get started. It gives people a common language and common framework."

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