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We’ve created a monster! Truth and fiction in SOA

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This presentation is about Service Oriented Architecture, or SOA. Why ‘we’ve created a monster’? This presentation considers SOA as both bandwagon and what’s really happening in organisations ...

This presentation is about Service Oriented Architecture, or SOA. Why ‘we’ve created a monster’? This presentation considers SOA as both bandwagon and what’s really happening in organisations around the globe.

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  • This presentation is about Service Oriented Architecture, or SOA. Why ‘we’ve created a monster’? This presentation considers SOA as both bandwagon and what’s really happening in organisations around the globe.
  • It is over 75 years since Frankenstein first came to the big screen, Boris Karloff’s iconic character spawning an entire genre of movies. In the film, a mad doctor assembled stolen body parts and brought the result to life in a storm of electricity. The monster that emerged was left to discover for itself that it was not quite human, before heading out on a rampage of self-discovery. One is forced to wonder whether similar techniques were used to create the bandwagon we refer to today as ‘service oriented architecture’, or SOA. Overhyped, oversold and over here, we might say. However, when we consider how service-oriented techniques are being adopted, we find a brighter picture than the current breed of naysayers might to suggest. This presentation considers why service orientation is appropriate, and what we can learn from early adopters of SOA techniques.
  • First, let’s consider SOA-as-bandwagon, which has been … interesting. A number of the ‘standard’ IT industry issues have combined: Over-positioning of the benefits of SOA set up many projects to fail – especially as it was posited as fundamentally a strategic initiative rather than a grounded response to a specific requirement. Productisation, that is trying to turn what is ostensibly an architecture into an application middleware (a.k.a. Enterprise Service Bus) sales pitch. Service hijacking – the efforts of consulting firms to do their own equivalent of productisation, selling SOA as a strategic consulting project. Finally, elitist in-fighting between standards evangelists, enterprise architecture protagonists and other pundits has left a great deal of confusion in its wake.
  • Is it any surprise then that the wheels started to fall off the cart? This piece is dated 21 August 2007… journalists in IT can do a pretty good job of being the meteorologists of the hype cycle.
  • … and this year SOA apparently died completely! But it’s important not to believe everything we read. To be fair, perhaps it shouldn’t have been such a three-ring circus in the first place.
  • Enough about the bandwagon – what about SOA? Perhaps the most frustrating factor in all of this is that there are some good, solid reasons for SOA. SOA brings together a number of pretty old but rather fundamental concepts: The role of middleware to break IT silos and support distributed processing, information sharing and service delivery. The need for modularity in well-formed IT systems, a principle which goes back to 1975 and probably before. The importance of standardisation in the way that application elements communicate with other systems and people. The need for ‘joined-up thinking’ between the development of business-facing IT services , and their subsequent deployment, operation and management.
  • Given the amount of hype around SOA, it was important to us when we went out to research this area, not to pre-suppose that the IT community has a clear idea about what it means. We chose these three statements to define SOA in our research activities.
  • Based on the above statements, how familiar was the audience? In research we conducted back in 2007 when the wheels were starting to fall off the bandwagon, only 29% said they were very familiar with the term. No surprise, then, that only 10% of respondents were fully committed to SOA.
  • As an aside, the initial research we conducted was in 2007 – but as we can see from this chart, there’s been very little movement in a year. We will look at some more recent data shortly, but first let us revisit the initial findings of that first study.
  • Returning to the ‘SOA commitment’ theme, it is very interesting to compare commitment to some of the contextual questions such as this one – based around the kinds of businesses involved. There is a fascinating correlation between the two.
  • An even clearer picture comes when we compare commitment with how IT is perceived by the business. Of course, these relationships are chicken-and-egg – it is difficult to pick apart which comes first. However we have put together an ‘affinity triangle’, below.
  • The three stand-out criteria which go together with an affinity for SOA are as shown.
  • The clear nature of this correlation can be seen when we compare the responses of the ‘proactive elite’ organisations, with those organisations that are more reactive and cost-oriented. In other words, which ever comes first, it is very important to consider such contextual characterisics when setting out on the road to SOA adoption.
  • Let’s consider adoption in more detail then. When we compare the views between those with experience and others, we can see how the over-riding benefits felt by early adopters are more IT-related. Note that reuse and time to market are not such a major benefit.
  • Early adopter SOA activity is more around IT infrastructure. We know from other studies that more business-oriented benefits are felt by more advanced organisations – ‘alignment SOA’ . It makes sense that one builds on the other. But don’t run before you can walk.
  • Meanwhile, we have the challenges – here we show the top 5. Tools and technology remain a challenge, relatig back to SOA being oversold and under-delivered.
  • As a final point, then, it is very important to ignore the hype and deliver on real requirements.
  • Thanks!

We’ve created a monster! Truth and fiction in SOA We’ve created a monster! Truth and fiction in SOA Presentation Transcript

  • Service Oriented Architecture We’ve created a monster! Truth and fiction in SOA Jon Collins, Managing Director Freeform Dynamics Ltd [email_address] June 2009 www.freeformdynamics.com
  • Agenda
    • The SOA Monster
    • Why Service Orientation?
    • Adopter experiences
    SOA
  • Creating the monster… Over-positioning Productisation Service hijacking Elitist in-fighting
  • And in August 2007…
  • SOA is Dead? “ SOA met its demise on January 1, 2009, when it was wiped out by the catastrophic impact of the economic recession. SOA is survived by its offspring: mashups, BPM, SaaS, Cloud Computing, and all other architectural approaches that depend on ‘services’.” “ There’s a sucker born every minute” Anne Thomas Manes, Jan 5 2009 Attributed to P. T. Barnum, 1810-1891
  • Why SOA? Evolutionary trends…
  • Architecture oriented around services, anyone?
    • “ Service Oriented Architecture is an architectural style for structuring business applications as a set of independent, loosely coupled software elements, known as services.”
    • “ Such services are composed (orchestrated) into composite applications, promoting reuse and reducing IT complexity.”
    • “ Resulting applications are seen to be more flexible, such that they can support a company's ever-changing business processes end-to-end, and across functional units (departments).”
  • Data source: Freeform Dynamics SOA EMEA study, November 2007
  • Do you have or are you planning to begin an SOA initiative over the next 6 months? Data source: Freeform Dynamics / Register study, November 2008
  • SOA commitment proportional to business drive… Data source: Freeform Dynamics SOA EMEA study, November 2007
  • … as well as how IT is perceived by the business Data source: Freeform Dynamics SOA EMEA study, November 2007
  • SOA Affinity Positive and proactive attitude to change Service oriented approach to business View of IT as enabler of business advantage
  • SOA adoption can be mapped against behaviours and attitudes Reactive, cost-oriented Proactive, service-oriented Data source: Freeform Dynamics SOA EMEA study, November 2007
  • Comparing adopter experiences with perceptions “ What benefits do you expect / see from adopting an SOA approach?” Data source: Freeform Dynamics SOA Growth markets study, November 2008
  • Three constituencies of activity No SOA Infrastructure SOA Alignment SOA
  • What do you see as the most significant challenges to moving forwards with SOA? (Top 5) Data source: Freeform Dynamics SOA EMEA study, November 2007
  • Making a man of SOA!
    • Ignore the hype!
    • Strategies, not strategic initiatives
    • Best practice from adopters, not pundits
    • Good IT will see SOA as a by-product
  • Thank You Jon Collins, Managing Director Freeform Dynamics Ltd [email_address] www.freeformdynamics.com