Enterprise SOA

I’ve recently read Dion Hinchcliffe’s Blog entry on the Eleven Merging Ideas for SOA Architects in 2007.

The first thing that struck me was the initial paragraph:

“As I highlighted recently on ZDNet,
48% of CIOs will be looking to actually start using their SOAs to
connect to external partners this year. Unfortunately, we’ve been
building landscapes of Web services for quite a few years now and for
many, the tipping point for SOA adoption seems as elusive as ever.
While trying to understand why this is, one common explanation I offer
is that the A in SOA is often missing. When you ask server-side
developers in a given organization what they are developing, they
usually say Web services. When you talk to architects in the same
organization, they usually say they are building SOAs.”

There are some very salient points here regarding the Enterprise and Architecture. So the two combined together being Enterprise Architecture is often missing. What happens when Enterprise Architecture is missing? A previous blog entry gives a good overview of that, it was titled “The most highly publicised Software Failure in history“.

In previous blog entries, I started questioning where the boundaries of an Enterprise lie by questioning “What does Enterprise in an ESB mean?

There are different types of services that are required to support an Enterprise Architecture. SOA (Service Oriented Archictecture) is an architectural style that utilises services in a loosely coupled fashion to support business processes. So the term Enterprise SOA, I would assume refering to the diagram in Dion Hinchcliffe’s Blog entry, would refer to that set of services that are exposed by the Enterprise to be used by other Enterprises. This is not easy to achieve in existing organisations, due to the strict security imposed by the firewall.

I’m starting to think that for most organisations their firewall, is a bit like the Iron Curtain that physically divided Europe. There is the inside of the Enterprise and the outside of the Enterprise – two seperate divides. It is sometimes bridged through establishing a private network connection between two organisations, invariable in the DMZ, a bit like I suppose Check Point Charlie. We all know how succesful this was and what happened with this structure!

Enabling quicker relationships establishment through “spheres of trust” between Enterprises will break down these all encompassing firewalls that are very much acting as Iron Curtains. We will see greater connectivity not just between two organisations but between organisations that have not done business before.

Think of the new business models and innovation this may achieve.


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