Daily Archives: May 16, 2007

Why SOA is different

What I should say, is: what is different that makes SOA popular now when it has been around for 10 years or more?
I’ve given this rap a couple of times now during the past couple of weeks, and I think I’m starting to get it down 😉
I believe the reason SOA is popular now is that the IT software industry has reached a critical turning point in its history. I think this is what’s different.
30 or 40 years ago the big deal was which application to automate next. The idea of using computers to help run a business was new (never mind the idea that some businesses could be completely based on computers).
So everyone was trying to figure out which investments to make in which applications, many of which were automating manual procedures, and speeding up the flow of information, which in turn helped a business to achieve a return on those investments.
No one was really thinking about what do you do once everything is automated? But that’s more or less where the industry finds itself now. Enterprises pretty much have all the IT they need – certainly all the features and functions, languages, operating systems, packaged applications, database management systems, application servers, EAI brokers, etc.
The next challenge – for any industry in this position – is how to improve and refine what has already been done. And that’s why SOA is so popular, and why we at IONA have developed our unique approach to SOA infrastructure.
It’s not about building new applications or integrating ERP systems anymore. It’a about refining and improving what everyone has so it works better together. So it all supports the same level of abstraction and standardization, and all the existing applications we’ve worked so hard on during the past few decades can participate in SOA based solutions.
So we are now in a unique position – for the software industry at least – of looking backward to see what we did and how to improve it, and get more out of the investments we’ve already made – instead of looking forward to the next big feature/function, the next big release.
The industry is different, and needs a different approach to enterprise software. Specifically to support the reasons why SOA is so popular now, and takes into account the different stage of industry evolution in which we find ourselves.

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