Daily Archives: October 27, 2006

Incremental Approach to SOA Infrastructure

Steve Craggs picked up on IONA’s recent announcement, in which we reiterated our incremental adoption approach, asking whether this is a good thing. Neal Keneally has already commented that if you know you need orchestration, you can always buy it at the same time as the Artix ESB microkernal, and Steve apparently ended up agreeing with this, but still wondering how the final tally would come out. Would it really be less expensive than buying another ESB the “traditional” way, all at once?
This is a good question, of course, and one that’s very difficult to answer because in the world of enterprise software, sales are typically a long discussion, including price negotiation. It’s not like buying Word or Flight Simulator.
But I would add that SOA is fundamentally different than previous generation products because SOA is an approach, not a technology. (As Steve V. has pointed out at the end of this post it actually would make more sense to call it Service Oriented Approach so it isn’t confused with more precise software architectures such as hub and spoke, three tier, or REST.)
The comparison of the “traditional” vs the “incremental” approaches is difficult since everyone’s SOA requirements are different, and everyone’s budgets are very tight. It just seems more reasonable to offer a smaller priced offering for companies getting started with SOA, especially those sensitive to demonstrating ROI.
The point is that to do SOA you may not need a lot of software in the first place. You probably don’t need another application server, an EAI broker, or a message queuing system. The point of an SOA is to join these and other types of existing software systems together using a standard interface and some (possibly combination of) data formats and communications protocols.
So the incremental approach makes more sense for SOA infrastructure than it would for application servers, database management systems, message queuing software, packaged applications etc. since by definition what SOA is trying to do is put these kinds of things together, not replace them.