The changing face of SOA

Amidst all the economic turmoil that is surrounding us these days, there seem to be 2 different discussions going on about SOA. One side views SOA as now mainstream and the defacto choice for business/IT architecture, and the other side views SOA as being in the trough of disillusionment, and sees SOA now being supplanted by more ‘latest things’ such as Event driven architectures (EDA), cloud computing or light-weight exclusively open-source based initiatives.

So what do I think? Well I spent some time yesterday looking at both Gartner’s Hype Cycle, and Geoffrey Moore’s Crossing the Chasm – the Technology Adoption Lifecycle. If we take these as both valid then we should not be surprised at both of these perceptions. Clearly IBM has been saying for some time now that EDA is an integral part of SOA – as demonstrated by solutions such as WebSphere Business Events (, but is SOA robust and flexible enough to encompass other aspects such as Cloud Computing and different technology platforms? Surely, given SOA is an architecture designed to be flexible, it is possible for it to include these changing aspects, but I guess it is more whether the term SOA is still relevant, as I don’t believe anyone would disagree that the changes provided by SOA are a necessary step to these latest advances.

So is it more an issue of terminology – is it the term SOA that is in the trough of disillusionment, and not the idea behind it? Certainly I don’t see businesses moving away from SOA activities and plans, it is more the blogosphere and analysts who are looking for a new discussion point – and maybe the term Web Oriented Architecture (WOA) is a more suitable term for new light-weight and cloud-based deployments.  Perhaps people can suggest why this is wrong, but I think SOA is with us for sometime yet. After all many SOA projects are starting to show success. Who in this economy is going to say let’s go for something unrelated to SOA? Is this a time to increase risk, or to leverage and grow based on success?


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