SOA's five hot-button issues

We've now had two-plus years of vendor hype, analyst pontification, and trade press ballyhooing around service-oriented architecture. Where do we stand?

We've now had two-plus years of vendor hype, analyst pontification, and trade press ballyhooing around service-oriented architecture. Where do we stand?

Cape Clear's Annrai O'Toole -- always one to speak his mind -- recently posted some thoughts about the state of SOA, 2006, and posits that we've made some progress on some fronts, but a lot more work is needed in other areas.

Thanks to ZDNet colleague Dana Gardner for surfacing Annrai's remarks. Dana points out, quite correctly, that there is a lot of confusion around SOA, and the concept risks being watered down in hubris and hype."If SOA conceptually gets too watered down, it will be all the more difficult to muster the cross-organizational buy-in that is required to make SOA succeed," he points out.

Annrai breaks out the state of SOA into five hot-button issues:

Appdev: "Today, a lot of SOA development is down in the technical weeds," Annrai observes. It's still unclear how SOA will help with big-time projects, such as SAP, he says.

Business Users: The greatest promise of SOA is that it will draw business users closer to the potential of IT, but the tools that enable this are still limited, Annrai states.  "I therefore believe that there is a very necessary debate to be had on exactly what SOA is going to offer the business user in the future and how that is a hell of lot better than what they get today."

Middleware:  Along with questioning the future of the enterprise service bus, Annrai asks: "Is there an 'SOA platform?'"

Open Source: Some SOA open source initiatives are "not very interesting whilst others are potentially very strategic to the direction of SOA," Annrai writes. "Will the future of SOA be open source?"

Actual deployments: Annrai says companies are getting the SOA message, and observes that BPEL is hot, hot, hot. "Customers like the ability to be able to model complex business processes in BPEL and then deploy those processes in an instant. There is increasing demand for rich enterprise features around how BPEL is supported." Also in demand: a lifecycle approach to SOA projects.