to SOA or not to SOA

When is the correct time to introduce a SOA Style Architecture into your organisation?

It probably is already happening, so really it is at what point do you jump on the band wagon. Well, in my opinion the answer is the sooner the better, it is a journey that has already started that has no clear end.

A Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) is an IT Architecture style. You can do a google search and find lots of information. Boris Lubinsky has written an excellent article on IBM Developer Works called Defining SOA as an architectural style.

This is important to understand, as I’ve read a lot of blog entries by journalist saying that if they talk to developers they are developing web services and if they talk to IT Architects they say they are building a SOA environment.

I would say that there are parallels for this through history where the Architecture being developed was not understood by the persons outside of the field of endeavor that it was being defined for. Of course many persons and organisations benefited from successful implementations based on those Architectures.

There is a lot of great support material available from the major vendors to help educate and address the questions and issues raised by business. This is not a cop out for not having an Enterprise Architecture, that addresses the business, but a way of helping to raise the priority for revisiting or creating it in the first place.

SOA architectural style, represents a set of Architectural patterns that can be leveraged in a repeatable fashion through meta models to reduce the time to value and risk of implementation failure. The various products evolving to support SOA, implement some combination of these patterns. The patterns that you will need, will be dependent on the business domain, business model and problem domain.

An interesting read is Toward a pattern language for Service Oriented Architecture and Integration, Part 1: Build a service eco-system. Try and avoid the SOA Anti-patterns.

Would be interested to hear from people regarding SOA architectural styles and patterns. Have you had success? What other styles have you found successful?


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