SOA Executive Insight Report

An important force helping to push SOA up the slope of enlightenment is the sharing of knowledge, experience and validation from SOA “doers” rather than marketers. The SOA Consortium is one body set up by the OMG to try to help this along (although caveat emptor the consortium is sponsored by a bunch of vendors).

I read through the SOA Executive Insight Report which reports on the discussion between a number of CIOs who all apparently have extensive SOA experience. There are a couple of interesting comments of note.

The CIOs…

“expressed concern regarding the current industry focus on wire protocols and products, rather than business value generation and the necessary business and IT changes for sustainable SOA success. The industry – vendors, press and practitioners – must “elevate out of the technical weeds” in order to engage the business on SOA.”

This was written in April 2007, but is still so true today. In particular the arguments of ws-* versus REST are not about SOA and should not be confused with the viability or otherwise of service oriented approaches to providing functionality and value to IT users.

The second interesting comment is:

“CIOs noted the lack of common practices for

  • service versioning,
  • the complexity of testing shared services with multiple consumers,
  • the challenge of identifying mission critical services,
  • the reinvention of chargeback procedures,
  • blind spots in capacity planning, and
  • the need for ‘real-time releases’.

The CIOs want best practices for these issues. Specifically, they mentioned an ‘ITIL for SOA’.”

These are issues that I see creating many challenges for SOA adopters and there are no simple solutions. These are also issues I have run into in my own SOA work and I hope to write about them in the future.

One other comment on the SOA Consortium web site. There are a number of SOA “case studies” which is great to see, but very disappointing once you drill into them. They lack any real “meat.” We need more than just a few bullet points…details are needed on what challenges they faced and how they overcame them. As they stand the case studies look like a selection of vendor power-points.