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Gartner Vendor Report: Application Infrastructure For Systematic SOA-Style Application Projects

by Dilip Krishnan on Dec 28, 2010 |

Gartner recently released a report where they examine and evaluate the ability of leading application infrastructure providers/vendors to provide organizations with complete end-to-end support for for Systematic SOA-Style applications and projects. 

New and composite service-oriented business applications require a complex collection of capabilities in runtime technologies and development tools. We examine the ability of leading application infrastructure vendors to provide users with complete end-to-end support for SOA-style application projects.

The report recognizes that many organizations looking for infrastructure solutions are looking for an integrated suite with one vendor that can serve as the point of contact. The report goes on the define the assumptions and considerations that the report aims to cover.

Systematic projects include long-term consideration and project planning in the process of design and technology selection for the application. They target applications that are intended for extended periods of use, carry advanced service-level requirements and typically have an impact on the overall information context of the business organization. These are distinct from opportunistic projects that are undertaken in response to urgent demands and target applications of limited lifetime, responsibility and complexity. These projects value time to market and cost optimization above the long-term use and flexibility of the application. This Magic Quadrant focuses only on the systematic project types…

The report evaluates vendor's portfolio of application infrastructure offerings fulfills the requirements for systematic projects.

The evaluation of a particular vendor is based on the premise that the vendor is the sole provider of the complete end-to-end set of requirements for this project type.

The report also defers to other available analysis that are related but not really covered in this particular report

Gartner also offers a separate analysis of the strategic SOA infrastructure projects, where the market is focused on establishing the operational and governance environments for coexistence and interoperation of multiple SOA-style applications. […] If your project looks to build a systematic SOA application and, in the process, establish the governance and operational platform for the future SOA-style application projects and acquisitions, we recommend that you examine the "Magic Quadrant for Shared SOA Interoperability Infrastructure Projects" together with the vendor assessments presented in this research.

Gartner also offers analysis of systematic application integration projects. This type of project focuses on the integration of pre-existing software that is resident in a variety of different systems, custom-designed, purchased, contracted as a cloud service or offered by partner enterprises. There is no focus on the ability to construct new applications. There is also no priority for SOA-style integration at the expense of other integration practices. If your project, while building a new SOA application, must substantially interact with non-SOA external resources, then we recommend that you examine the application integration Magic Quadrant, along with this research, to fine-tune your decision process.

The report reflects the emmergence of cloud technology providers; "as IT organizations evaluate enabling technology for their projects, platform-as-a-service (PaaS) options compete with traditional on-premises alternatives". The report can be summed up by the Magic Quadrant for Application Infrastructure for Systematic SOA-Style Application Projects

 Gartner Magic Quadrant

Source: Gartner (October 2010)

 

The key technical characteristics that are essential to such offering portfolios are:

  • Competitive technology of a back-end application execution container(s), including support for SOA-style modularity, accessible from like and unlike clients; capable of supporting advanced quality-of-service requirements, but also suitable for modest-scale projects; worthy of the requirements of systematic project efforts.

  • Competitive technologies of front-end execution container(s), including support for SOA-style external resources, accessing like and unlike services; worthy of the requirements of systematic project efforts.

  • Development and runtime modeling, design, maintenance and management tools required to establish and manage one complete SOA-style application.

  • Development and runtime capabilities for service orchestration, with access to like and unlike, local and remote service interfaces.

  • Governance of SOA resources, though limited here to just the one application context.

The vendors were evaluated in terms of ability to execute and completeness of vision and one of the important criteria in the evaluation is the ability for the vendors to be capable of delivering as a sole vendor for these kinds of initiatives.

There must be evidence of production success (present or imminent) by this vendor as a sole provider of technology for this project type.

Be sure to check out the report and add you opinions on the findings of this report.

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Where the real integration happens by Frank Cohen

I'm all for Service Oriented Architecture. I designed our open source test tool with SOA patterns and methods. But I am really down on how SOA is maturing among the vendors. SOA reminds me of Hip Hop music in 2007-2008: So much promise that didn't materialize into anything other than good music. Hip Hop didn't change the world. In the SOA space we still have tools that do no interoperate. When was the last time you imported WSDL from the Microsoft Studio tools into Oracle WebLogic Server? It still doesn't work.

I wish the Gartner report was more focused and encouraged vendors on how SOA can solve integration project issues. For example, PushToTest is a small global enterprise that needs integration between our Software As A Service (SAS) vendors. We use SugarCRM for lead management, GotoWebinar for Webinar hosting, Hubspot for lead tracking and trend analysis, Google Analytics for analysis of our marketing effectiveness, iContact for email list management, and Jira for customer support management.

Ideally we would apply SOA techniques to integrate these services: After each Webinar an automatic process to add the attendees as Leads to Sugar, bi-directional synchronization between Hubspot and SugarCRM, leads in Sugar to be imported into the iContact system, and, Jira integration for each lead and Aacount to view their Jira tickets. Are a bunch of PHP scripts the solution to this SOA integration need?

Gartner's report is a nice opinion on who is leading and who has the possibility of challenging. The report misses its own target by not showing how little the IT industry has done in the SOA space to change the world.

-Frank Cohen
www.pushtotest.com

Do these SOA suites really simplify? by Tormod Varhaugvik

Most organisation struggle to enable change at a faster pace. I can’t see that adding yet another layer of complexity on top of an already hard to handle it-portfolio will make those organizations any simpler.
Experience has found these tools very intrusive and they are not making maintenance costs lower or change easier. There are many good functional, technical and organizational reasons not to use them.
We have different approach for our target system architecture for our domain; Tax administration. The core of this is presented at: tormodv.blogspot.com/2010/11/concept-for-datast....

Re: Where the real integration happens by Nikita Ivanov

Couldn't agree more with Frank. We are in the same boat and the level of integration between various SaaS and on-premise systems we use is close to zero. JIRA Studio does integrate with Google Apps but that's where it ends. And even JIRA Studio (as good as it gets) is very rough around the corners - and this is the best of the best solutions out there...

Long way to go. Report is almost useless IMHO (as most of these reports are).

Nikita Ivanov.
GridGain - Cloud Application Platform

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