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What’s Next for SOA?

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 Discussing SOA future, Joe McKendrick asks in his new post

What’s the next step for service oriented architecture? Many see it melding with other disciplines, as it doesn’t make for a business case on a standalone basis - a business is going to demand streamlined customer care, or a more responsive ERP system, but never just "SOA"

Regarding SOA’s evolution in the future, McKendrick sees several different directions where SOA can go.

Merging with the Enterprise architecture. According to Loraine Lawson, SOA will be included into enterprise architecture (EA) as one of the options. In her opinion this will benefit both - EA will have an additional tool in its toolbox while SOA will benefit from a bigger picture provided by EA.

Cloud computing. A lot of publications consider cloud computing an SOA savior. According to McKendrick:

... SOA-enabled services are, in many respects, private cloud services. And an effective cloud structure needs sound service orientation underneath

David Linthicum goes even further by stating that:

A close look discloses that cloud computing is SOA, and SOA is cloud computing.

EAI. From the very beginning of SOA it was viewed by many practitioners as a better approach to EAI implementations. A recent ebizQ and TechTarget event, "SOA and Application Integration in Action", had a panel, :"Building Out Integration Infrastructure with SOA', dedicated to this topic.

According to McKendrick:

This makes perfect sense, since the challenge SOA is addressing is bringing together a spaghetti mishmash of applications together for the business.

BPM. Numerous publications have discussed the commonalities and interdependencies between SOA and BPM. In McKendrick’s opinion:

... business process management depends on the ability to de-construct and re-construct processes that are supported by automation.

Nothing in this discussion seems really new, so why is it resuming now?

... vendors have gotten antsy to move on to The Next Big Thing, and many have toned down talk of being exclusively SOA suppliers.

writes McKendrick.

Such discussions seem extremely artificial and do not really have anything to do with defining or redefining SOA. It was defined several years ago as

... an architectural style promoting the concept of business-aligned enterprise service as the fundamental unit of designing, building, and composing enterprise business solutions.

In spite of that, many practitioners still consider SOA as a technology platform, which is causing all of this confusion.

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