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Exec: 'Make SOA Real'

Service oriented architectures (SOAs) should form the core of most -- if not all -- enterprise operations. So said Miko Matsumura, newly appointed deputy CTO at Software AG.

He outlined some of the reasons why during his event-opening keynote address, "Time Oriented Architecture: Evolution by Design?" The talk was given at the recent SOAWorld Conference and Expo 2007 West in San Francisco.

"What I'm proposing is a methodology that builds out over time from the core elements required for service interoperability, orchestration and governance," Matsumura said.

By keeping upfront investment to these foundational components, he argued, companies can more easily capitalize on "immediate opportunities" while they create a solid foundation for a sustainable implementation. In other words, don't "overbuild your SOA," but shift your focus "from service enablement to managing the dynamic relationships between producers and consumers."

Matsumura is well-known among Java jocks as the original Java Evangelist at Sun Microsystems. In recent years, he's gained considerable notoriety in SOA circles as the co-creator of The Middleware Company's SOA Blueprints, the first complete, vendor-neutral specification of an SOA application set. He also coined the term "intentional SOA," and his well-regarded white paper, "Intentional SOA for Real-World SOA Builders,'' outlines practices and principles that ensure the business value of SOA.

Matsumura's keynote focused on "the emerging tension that exists between the needs for a solid foundation to anchor a sustainable implementation and the often chaotic consumption patterns associated with Web 2.0 mashups, composite applications and business process orchestration."

Those tensions notwithstanding, staying the course just won't do. For instance, the challenges of implementing enterprise SOA are "dwarfed by the competitive risks associated with maintaining the status quo," Matsumura explained.

"SOA pioneers have begun to break away from the pack in terms of their operational agility and time-to-market," he added. The message for everyone else is that they had better get onboard if they want to stay competitive.

Among these core SOA components, governance is the one that most directly affects developers, Matsumura said in an earlier interview.

"SOA can be very unsettling to developers," he observed. "It creates a situation where there are a lot of potential external irritants that creep into the process of development. But if the true value of SOA is heterogeneous end points -- service consumers -- then developers have to face the challenge of creeping constituency requirements. In other words, they have to get used to large numbers of people asking for features they may not want or even understand."

Enterprises can get away with a minimum set of SOA governance policies to get started, he said.

"If you have the ability to deal with interop, security and binding, you can address subsequent requirements as your implementation matures," he said.

Matsumura also admonished conference attendees to stop "monkeying around" with SOA, a sly reference to what's known as Guerilla SOA, a lightweight approach that uses Web services to target specific business problems. The concept was developed by Jim Webber, SOA lead practice at ThoughtWorks.

"It's time for Chimpanzee SOA!," he said.

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance author and journalist based in Silicon Valley. His latest book is The Everything Guide to Social Media. Follow John on Twitter, read his blog on ADTmag.com, check out his author page on Amazon, or e-mail him at john@watersworks.com.


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