Two things money can’t buy: love and SOA

Does middleware untangle or tangle more?

At many organizations right now, SOA is a “technology predicated death march,” according to Jim “World Wide Webber, a speaker at this week's International SOA Symposium in Amsterdam.

A death march? That's because organizations think they can move into SOA methodologies by buying technology. He said there are two things money can’t buy: One is love, even when it involves Heather Mills McCartney. The other thing money can’t buy is SOA, he said.

At this week’s , Jim “World Wide Webber” expounded on his view that SOA, pure and simple, will trump more expensive and complicated middleware every time. Jim doesn't shy away from controversy.

The problem, Jim said, is that many organizations have purchased and installed Enterprise Service Buses, which looked like an appealing mechanism for straitening out middleware tangles. However, what eventually happens is ESBs – which he branded as “Erroneous Spaghetti Boxes” – become part of the middleware problem as well, he says.“ESBs are not SOA,” he said. “They wrapped 1990s expensive proprietary stuff and sold it as a 21st Century solution.”

Rather, SOA itself is the solution, he explained. “It forces us to think about the business processes we want to support.” Companies need to consider is tackling all the issues with security, reliable messaging, and transactions with standard Web services protocols, he said. This is SOA at its finest, because it accomplishes everything ESBs or other middleware can do, he said. The exercise with identifying and laying out these services on a piece-by-piece basis also take the requirements out of the realm of the IT department, and sets up a more collaborative relationship with the business, Jim added.

“Governance has to be more fine-grained,” he says. Often, expensive middleware is implemented with the idea that it will solve issues three years or more down the road. However, markets and business events move too quick to buy technology that far ahead. Instead, SOA needs to be an adaptable service structure that moves and changes with the business. Middleware doesn’t accomplish that, he added.