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Talking SOA with Judith Hurwitz

Longtime industry analyst Judith Hurwitz discusses how Microsoft is becoming more engaged in the Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) space.

Microsoft is becoming more engaged in the Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) space. The company even held a conference in October dedicated to SOA and business processes, and there highlighted its "real-world" approach to SOA. Microsoft says its strategy eschews a "top-down," enterprise-wide infrastructure overhaul in favor of using SOA to tackle a focused business problem.

In fact, Microsoft Director of Architecture Strategy John deVadoss says his company is working to drive the SOA movement. "Beginning with version 1.0 of the .NET Framework, our investments in tools together with the intrinsic support for Web services in our platform have helped make service orientation mainstream," deVadoss said in a statement.

Longtime industry analyst Judith Hurwitz, co-author of the new book "Service Oriented Architecture for Dummies," (read a review of it online) is keeping an eye on Microsoft's SOA strategy. She offered her thoughts in a recent interview with RDN.

Can Microsoft really lay claim to the SOA movement? What's your view on where it stands now in the market?
Judith HurwitzIt's true that Microsoft has done a lot with XML and some of the Web services interfaces. In terms of architecturally, [and] SOA itself, I would say it has some good pieces. My impression was initially [that] the company was very reluctant to say, 'What we do is [SOA].' I think that what the company has seen in the marketplace is that this is where things are headed, so it not only wants to be a part of it, but a leader. If you look at Microsoft's offerings, it clearly has a lot on the server side. The company has a lot of pieces and some of them are very good. But what it hasn't done is [put] together all the pieces [for SOA]. Its metadata strategy isn't very strong yet.

Is it too late for Microsoft to be a big player in the SOA market?
I don't think Microsoft is too late. This is a 10-year-or-more-long journey. I don't think you can point to one vendor and say they've got it all figured out.

Can Microsoft dominate the SOA space?
I don't think so. SOA implies interoperability, not pieces that are sewn together-that's a proprietary architecture. My take is that if SOA is done right, it should open the floodgate to a lot more players in the industry.

Do you really think the SOA market will mature in a way that lets competing solutions work with each other? Is that something Microsoft will go along with?
Yes I do. If you look back to the time when the relational database market was maturing ... [companies] swore they would never let data from another database work with theirs. Now that seems like a ludicrous thought. I think we'll see the same path with SOA. You already see some of that now.

If you use Microsoft in a homogenous environment, it's quite elegant. As soon as you have to leave that and go to something more heterogeneous ... it definitely gets a lot harder. It's clearly more comfortable in a homogenous environment. ... I think customers have been very clear about what their expectations are.

About the Author

Chris Kanaracus is the news editor for Redmond Developer News.

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