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Is Service-Enablement Required For Legacy Systems To Participate In SOA?

by Dilip Krishnan on Mar 26, 2009 |

Joe McKendrick comments on an interview with Shailender Kumar, vice president of Oracle Fusion Middleware for Oracle India, and asks if SOA Possible even without Service-enabled Apps.  

In the interview Shailender Kumar suggests some of the key challenges in SOA adoption are

  • Manag[ment of] services metadata.

SOA based environments can include many services which exchange messages to perform tasks. Managing and providing information on how services interact is a complicated task.

  • [Managment of] levels of security.

Applications which consume services, particularly those external to company firewalls, are more visible to external parties than traditional monolithic proprietary applications. The flexibility and reach of SOA can compromise security.

  • [Inability of] CIOs or IT executives understand the fundamental concept of SOA and issues on how to get started

Though Shailenders' comments are directed at companies in India, Joe believes them to apply to the even the most advanced SOA-savvy companies in general, whom, he says, according to surveys conducted by him, have less than 20% of their portfolios SOA-ready. The underlying debate that Joe is trying to bring out is embodied in the following statement

There is, however, a myth associated with this technology that unless one has a service-enabled application, one can't do SOA - which is not true. Actually, some people see web services as SOA, which is wrong because web services are just another protocol. For example, if you have an application that is service-enabled, and a whole bunch of applications that are not service-enabled, you can still connect these by deploying adapters.

However, Joe believes that, though we can see the effects of SOA in much of our daily lives; such as when one makes an online purchase; the vision of connecting various “modern” SO systems with “legacy” systems that are not service enabled is not easy to manage unless they are service enabled …

[…,] unless an organization throws out all its systems and starts entirely from scratch these days, most SOA efforts will be very ungainly and unique contraptions — and that’s okay. And, of course, JBOWS is the predominant architecture at this point. And that’s okay, too. It’s a stage in evolution. And in all likelihood, there will be no compelling need to service-enable 100% of everything.

Can composite applications that “mash-up” the old and the new using adapters be considered SOA? Be sure to check the original article.

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