Can you go from EAI to SOA?

Why EAI and SOA are not the same.

I pointed out before that there are really two camps: SOA Old School and SOA New School, and there seems to be a chasm between the two that keeps growing.

"Old School SOA vendors are those with 'legacy' integration or application development solutions that 'SOA-tized' their stuff, basically adding Web services interfaces, enhanced security, etc.," I said.

In fact many are finding that the "traditional technology" is coming up short when you consider the new complexities of SOA. I think that SOA is being defined by the marketing machines in the well-funded upstarts, and the older guys are finding that they are being made obsolete. No matter if it's perception, or reality. In the world of SOA, it really does not seem to matter right now. The hype cycle is raging.

However, there are product pattern differences that are causing issues as well. Here are a few that I've noted, generally speaking:

  • Older products are more information-oriented and don't consider the notion of a service within the product at the management, development, and repository levels -- it seems to be an afterthought.
  • The process or orchestration technologies delivered with the older integration technologies are not innate, but seem to be loosely coupled. Perhaps in many cases it is "architecture through acquisition."
  • They are "enterprisy" and don't consider services outside of the firewall when building an SOA, nor have facilities to leverage mashups.
  • They are leveraging out-of-date standards that are just no longer interesting, nor work well in the context of an SOA. I already pointed out the issues around J2EE in my last blog.
  • The existing customer use cases are more about information replication adhering to a loosely defined process, and not about architecture agility or the ability to drive integration around service abstraction.

So, is this a trend? Are the older integration guys with old products, thousands of customers, and yes, gulp, profits, able to keep up with the young Turks who seem to be defining the market now? Tough to say, but it does not look good when considering the current set of events, including a growing market and declining or slow-growing sales with a few of the players.

Clearly, their stuff works and is proven. They just need some strategy alignment and product changes. Been there, done that, have the T-shirt. It's not easy.

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