Integration requires not just technical consulting, but management consulting à la "House of Lies." No integration technology can force two corporate departments to talk and share data. For that, you need both vision and hard-nosed, hands-on management. You need a corporate structure that supports that vision. In other words, you can't really buy a SOA product and achieve SOA through purchasing alone.
Is there a directory standard at long last?
That said, you can buy a complete SOA product suite from nearly any large tech vendor. Due to poor standardization, however, most of these products won't really integrate with any other vendor's products. This is partly due to a key, missing component from the SOA diagram above: the service registry. Sure, every vendor has one, but every standard proposed until now has failed to gain serious momentum. As a developer, I had always assumed that one day they'd plug into the Java Naming and Directory Interface API or System.DirectoryServices in .Net and I wouldn't have to worry about it. So far, it hasn't happened.
UDDI was the Web services standard that was supposed to emerge, but failed to gain any kind of significant traction. IBM, one of the key supporters of UDDI, decided to roll its own with its WSSR product; later, along with other vendors, it published S-RAMP as an alternative. If you'd like to know more about S-RAMP, tough luck -- nearly all of the pages at OASIS, its specification group, return a 404.
What good is an integration strategy without standards to drive interoperability between vendors? Truth be told, you don't even need to buy an SOA product to achieve a SOA strategy, but it would certainly be nice if you could catalog and locate services between vendor products with an SOA purchase. Don't get me wrong, two REST or SOAP services can still talk, but it is point-to-point integration by name. This is a real shame for some of the larger organizations that I work with. You sell your soul to one vendor and their directory (such as WSSR), or you do point-to-point integration by name.
Everything I do is cloud because I say cloud before everything I do
The marketing steam ran out of SOA a while ago. Instead, the industry is focused on big data and cloud computing. But the cloud solves none of these integration problems. The cloud will not stop silo computing as the predominant industry standard. In fact, abundant commodity computing power may yield a bigger mess.
A host of vendors will sell you a public or private cloud solution, but you still need a strategy that will let you integrate all of your data and logic. That's the value of SOA lives on. It's even more important now that the industry is cloud-washing all of its products. As software developers, we should probably breathe deep on the way to the cloud and take one last crack at this integration strategy.
This article, "Long live SOA in the cloud era," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in business technology news and get a digest of the key stories each day in the InfoWorld Daily newsletter. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld on Twitter.