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SOA arrogance is dead

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by Miko Matsumura

I spoke at the Burton Group Catalyst conference in the SOA Track immediately after Anne and made the following point..

First and foremost, the most stupid and ignorant reading of “SOA is DEAD” is that the perspective of SOA is no longer needed in the Enterprise. This point of view is stupid, particularly when SOA is so important for mash-ups, Cloud Computing, SaaS, PaaS, BSM, IT Governance, Portfolio management and most modern IT practices.

The problem of Enterprise IT Complexity (and Entropy) *DOES* need to be solved. SOA is one of many key architectural perspectives that can make this happen.

Everything is a service (SOA) is an incredibly powerful view.

But within appropriate bounds, everything can also be appropriately viewed as a Process, an Event, an Object, a database table, or other abstraction.

The idea that an enterprise architect could become so focused on “one architecture to rule them all” is as preposterous as “one vendor to rule them all”.

Like the unfortunate cat in this photo, the Enterprise Architect’s head “GROED TOO FASS”… SOA simply cannot be applied to all things. Conceptually it works. You can walk around and talk about how everything in the universe is a service. It’s actually a fun exercise. But to try to implement Enterprise IT that way, by occluding and dominating everyone else’s world view is simply ineffective.

We all know that the “tipping point” has been reached with IT, and that just about everyone is dissatisfied with it. SOA is an essential ingredient in the fix, but instead of insisting on an “Atkins” diet that consists only of meat (services), why not have a healthy and balanced diet that includes vegetables (processes), whole grains (objects), healthy oils and fats (events) and some sugars like fruit (database tables). While it may be unfair to compare SOA to a fad diet, the concept of a healthy enterprise never goes out of style.

Everyone’s point of view is needed, and although IT ends up looking very “simple” if you try to take a simplified view of IT and force it upon everyone. Unfortunately, such a simple monolithic view, even if it is as powerful as SOA will fail.

Enterprise Architects are smart people. We should all be able to incorporate and understand the validity of multiple viewpoints at the same time. The service oriented viewpoint is the key perspective with which IT can reorganize itself, but it should not be force fit over business people who think in processes or developers who think in objects or data gurus who think in tables.

We have gone from integration of systems, which is the rather mundane task of getting machines to interoperate, to the sophisticated task of integrating world views, and even more importantly, intentions. The Enterprise is made up of many world views and many different intentions. These need to be reconciled, but to run roughshod over the perspectives and intentions of others is simply not an adoption best practice.

Read Miko Matsumura's blogs.

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