Weblogic Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Michael Meiner, Michael Bushong, Avi Rosenthal

Related Topics: Weblogic, Microservices Expo

Weblogic: Article

The Triumph of the Ho-Hum SOA

Big paradigms creep up on us until they become an omnipresent fact of life

SOA and WOA Magazine on Ulitzer

If you've followed the arc of the SOA revolution, you might have expected the current moment to be one of great fanfare and proclamations of success. SOA (was supposed to have) arrived! SOA (was supposed to be) an accepted standard for software development and enterprise architecture. Yet, as we have seen, the naysayers appear to have had their day. SOA is DOA, we are told again and again. The recession/complacency/complexity/security problems/creeping vendor lock-in, you name it, has put a dagger in the heart of the enterprise SOA. I don't think it is actually thus. The reality turns out to be more subtle, and the declaration of SOA's demise is premature.

Nearly a decade after the debut of the Web services standards and the modern service-oriented architecture (SOA), the proof of the paradigm's remarkable success lies in what can only be described as its rather quiet and dull but effective existence. SOA has become so omnipresent, so unsurprisingly effective, it's a triumph. While many large organizations have been planning and executing far-reaching SOA plans, a different reality has snuck up on everyone. Service-orientation, if not actual SOA, is simply embedded into most software today, and it is routinely pulling off what used to be considered a nearly impossible task: the seamless, low-friction interoperation of radically different applications.

Like the hundreds of invisible electric motors that run our homes, tools, and offices, Web services are now stealthily powering whole classes of enterprise technology. They're like mobile phones. We just assume everyone has one today. And, like the mobile phone experience, which was total science fiction a generation ago but today is so commonplace it's not even noticed any more, Web services are the remarkable, nearly invisible magic in current integration scenarios.

I see this constantly in my work at Mitratech, whose TeamConnect software is used to manage corporate legal and compliance departments at large companies. Regardless of whether our clients have developed the kind of full-blown, enterprise SOA that everyone had on the drawing board circa 2005 or not, we are consistently implementing Web services-based integrations to other enterprise applications. What's fascinating is how Web services and the service-oriented capability are just assumed to be available. If you're deploying software in a large enterprise, you can pretty much assume that you can plug your other application in to Web services in the application infrastructure and that it can discover and integrate with other applications via their Web services.

Like many other packaged software vendors, we regularly plug TeamConnect into Web services interfaces in other applications and create integrations in days, which would have surely taken weeks or even months at the turn of the century. It's all, so, wonderfully boring! That's true success for SOA. Service-orientation, and Service-Oriented Business Applications (SOBAs), if not actual SOA, have taken over so completely in enterprise architecture for integration purposes that it's just not a big deal any longer, it's a fact.

For example, we often connect our corporate legal matter management product suite with enterprise content management solutions. This is done via web services calls that create the corresponding folder in the DM when the matter is created, another web service call to share security rights information, and presto they are working like one composite application. It's not a hassle to accomplish this integration. In fact, the integration potential is essentially pre-packaged into both solutions. Each vendor already knows where the integration is going to occur so it's already there. There's no consulting of a massive, central UDDI or federated bank of Web service registries, and no ESB. In contrast to the big vision, we now have narrowly scoped but highly valuable service-oriented business applications (SOBAs). How's that for dull?

One thing that is striking, though, is how different the reality of SOA is turning out to be in comparison with the way it was envisioned in 2001. As the SOA "revolution" gained momentum in the heady days of 2003-2005, the big vision was that major organizations would launch a service-oriented architecture program across the entire enterprise. With a large-scale UDDI at the core, developers would access Web services using ESBs and similar business process management / modeling technologies. Developers were to use existing Web services to build composite applications assembled out of odd Web services strewn across the enterprise, and to develop their own Web services on top of legacy applications. Of course, some of this has happened, but what seems to be more common, and a lot more interesting in its own boring way, is the simple, nonchalant hooking up of Web service-enabled applications as requirements demand it. It seems as if the preference for packaged applications with exposed Web services has outstripped the early SOA vision of a universe of custom-developed Web services being tied together in wholly new composite apps.

Consider what "code reuse," the rallying cry of the SOA movement, looks like in the successful, ho-hum SOA. The code-reuse theory was based on the idea that you could develop a Web service once and use it many times. That is true, but what's really happening is the repeated reuse of services from packaged software offerings. It's more like "buy once, use many times." Again, it's more boring than developing your own services, but still a great economy.

The ho-hum SOA has some catches, though. Broad, ad-hoc point-to-point Web service integration may advance the utility and value of service-orientation, but it can potentially wreak havoc on security and governance. In most cases, integrations occur between systems managed by consenting adults, who think through the data access control and confidentially issues as they plan and execute the connections. However, you can't make that assumption universally, and "self-policing" of app-to-app integration can be very problematic. SOA governance solutions can make a big difference here, but you need to have the right one and know that it will have the desired effect at a reasonable cost.

Data management can also get tricky when a lot of SOBAs are getting stitched together more or less on the fly. Part of a successful SOA technology strategy is making sure the information flowing through service-oriented applications is timely and accurate. Data that gets transformed on its way in and out of service-oriented applications can potentially cause disaggregation in the underlying databases unless SOBA development and data management are closely aligned. With SOA taking over, sans drama and major announcements, the IT department needs to keep up with this quiet tsunami, assuring compliance in information flow and integrity of enterprise services. Using ESBs to streamline the integration and to manage the X-Application Web services is an important factor of a large Enterprise / X-Enterprise SOA; this will ensure you publish the data once and subscribe from one or more systems, centralize common data transformations, establish common Business processes, share them, and so forth.

Though the big SOA plan and corporate SOA initiative are still important projects to work on, today's IT manager should not lose sight of what's actually happening, in SOA terms, right in their backyard. Historically, the winners of major technology battles are neither flashy nor loud. Big paradigms creep up on us until they become an omnipresent fact of life, even if no one's been looking. That appears to be happening with SOA. It's a transcendent, if boring, success. There's a lesson in this. The big vision is great to have, but sometimes, even if you never reach it, the technological future you want to build will catch up to where you want it to be on its own steam, and merits.

More Stories By Hugh Taylor

Hugh Taylor is the co-author of Understanding Enterprise SOA and Event-Driven Architecture: How SOA Enables the Real-Time Enterprise and the author of The Joy of SOX: Why Sarbanes Oxley and Service-Oriented Architecture May be the Best Thing that Ever Happened to You. He serves as Senior Director of Marketing at Mitratech, a Los Angeles based enterprise software company.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Enterprises have taken advantage of IoT to achieve important revenue and cost advantages. What is less apparent is how incumbent enterprises operating at scale have, following success with IoT, built analytic, operations management and software development capabilities - ranging from autonomous vehicles to manageable robotics installations. They have embraced these capabilities as if they were Silicon Valley startups.
Internet-of-Things discussions can end up either going down the consumer gadget rabbit hole or focused on the sort of data logging that industrial manufacturers have been doing forever. However, in fact, companies today are already using IoT data both to optimize their operational technology and to improve the experience of customer interactions in novel ways. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Gordon Haff, Red Hat Technology Evangelist, shared examples from a wide range of industries – including en...
The standardization of container runtimes and images has sparked the creation of an almost overwhelming number of new open source projects that build on and otherwise work with these specifications. Of course, there's Kubernetes, which orchestrates and manages collections of containers. It was one of the first and best-known examples of projects that make containers truly useful for production use. However, more recently, the container ecosystem has truly exploded. A service mesh like Istio addr...
Rodrigo Coutinho is part of OutSystems' founders' team and currently the Head of Product Design. He provides a cross-functional role where he supports Product Management in defining the positioning and direction of the Agile Platform, while at the same time promoting model-based development and new techniques to deliver applications in the cloud.
Predicting the future has never been more challenging - not because of the lack of data but because of the flood of ungoverned and risk laden information. Microsoft states that 2.5 exabytes of data are created every day. Expectations and reliance on data are being pushed to the limits, as demands around hybrid options continue to grow.
Business professionals no longer wonder if they'll migrate to the cloud; it's now a matter of when. The cloud environment has proved to be a major force in transitioning to an agile business model that enables quick decisions and fast implementation that solidify customer relationships. And when the cloud is combined with the power of cognitive computing, it drives innovation and transformation that achieves astounding competitive advantage.
Poor data quality and analytics drive down business value. In fact, Gartner estimated that the average financial impact of poor data quality on organizations is $9.7 million per year. But bad data is much more than a cost center. By eroding trust in information, analytics and the business decisions based on these, it is a serious impediment to digital transformation.
Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...
As IoT continues to increase momentum, so does the associated risk. Secure Device Lifecycle Management (DLM) is ranked as one of the most important technology areas of IoT. Driving this trend is the realization that secure support for IoT devices provides companies the ability to deliver high-quality, reliable, secure offerings faster, create new revenue streams, and reduce support costs, all while building a competitive advantage in their markets. In this session, we will use customer use cases...
Digital Transformation: Preparing Cloud & IoT Security for the Age of Artificial Intelligence. As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) power solution development and delivery, many businesses need to build backend cloud capabilities. Well-poised organizations, marketing smart devices with AI and BlockChain capabilities prepare to refine compliance and regulatory capabilities in 2018. Volumes of health, financial, technical and privacy data, along with tightening compliance requirements by...
delaPlex is a global technology and software development solutions and consulting provider, deeply committed to helping companies drive growth, revenue and marketplace value. Since 2008, delaPlex's objective has been to be a trusted advisor to its clients. By redefining the outsourcing industry's business model, the innovative delaPlex Agile Business Framework brings an unmatched alliance of industry experts, across industries and functional skillsets, to clients anywhere around the world.
Headquartered in Plainsboro, NJ, Synametrics Technologies has provided IT professionals and computer systems developers since 1997. Based on the success of their initial product offerings (WinSQL and DeltaCopy), the company continues to create and hone innovative products that help its customers get more from their computer applications, databases and infrastructure. To date, over one million users around the world have chosen Synametrics solutions to help power their accelerated business or per...
DXWordEXPO New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location.
DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that "Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO" has announced that its Call for Papers is now open. The two-day event will present 20 top Blockchain experts. All speaking inquiries which covers the following information can be submitted by email to [email protected] Financial enterprises in New York City, London, Singapore, and other world financial capitals are embracing a new generation of smart, automated FinTech that eliminates many cumbersome, slow, and expe...
DevOpsSummit New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DXWorldEXPO within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of bus...
With 10 simultaneous tracks, keynotes, general sessions and targeted breakout classes, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO are two of the most important technology events of the year. Since its launch over eight years ago, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO have presented a rock star faculty as well as showcased hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors! In this blog post, we provide 7 tips on how, as part of our world-class faculty, you can deliver one of the most popular sessions at our events. But before reading...
Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo have announced the conference tracks for Cloud Expo 2018. Cloud Expo will be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, and November 6-8, 2018, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DX Expo within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive ov...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that ICOHOLDER named "Media Sponsor" of Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO. ICOHOLDER give you detailed information and help the community to invest in the trusty projects. Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO has opened its Call for Papers. The two-day event will present 20 top Blockchain experts. All speaking inquiries which covers the following information can be submitted by email to [email protected] Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO also offers s...