InfoQ Interview: Stefan Tilkov on SOA
In this interview, Stefan Tilkov talks about his views about SOA, including the definition and role of SOA in general, different styles of implementing it, SOA's applications in the real world, and the role of ESBs. Stefan consults on SOA with the Fortune 1000 as part of innoQ, the Germany-based consultany he co-founded and also writes frequently about SOA on his blog and on InfoQ.com as SOA community editor.
Watch Stefan Tilkov on SOA (22 min)
On what's new with SOA, Stefan mentioned business alignment, which has been a consistent theme among SOA experts recently:
From a technological perspective I don't think there's that much new there. You were able to do messaging ages ago; you are able to use XML for quite some time now, that's not the new and exciting stuff. What I think is exciting is the fact that it creates, or at least that it is perceived to create the opportunity to align business and technology. The whole architectural discussion about aligning your businesses along services has reached a management level where technology usually doesn't play any role.
On what ESB is and it's value in implementing SOA, Stefan commented:
I think a reasonably well-accepted definition is that an ESB will help you connect systems using different technologies to a central service oriented infrastructure so that a lot of the technical tasks are taken over by the ESB product for you so you can rely on it to provide you transformation, routing, adaption of different protocols and all of this WS- * mess, this is all going to be handled by the ESB... What I also see is that ESBs move into the endpoints; it is trend that I see now: people now call an ESB, what was called SOAP-stack or a web service stack...
Stefan was also careful to mention that people should not look to ESBs to solve all of their problems and that "relying on a vendor to provide you with a SOA is a sure receipt for getting into the same problem that you ran into with the EAI vendors."
alternative to ESB
Miguel Ángel Huerta
Re: alternative to ESB
In my opinion, SOA is fundamentally concerned about heterogeneity -- trying to force a single product into the center is only beneficial for product vendors.