Time to move on from the 'SOA is dead' debate

We're entering a new, and productive, era where SOA is providing its appropriate value

Anne Thomas Manes had a follow-up to her now-famous "SOA is dead" post that sent the SOA vendors running for the warm embrace of their respective PR teams, the SOA bloggers to their keyboards, and the other analysts to figure out how to one-up Anne:

Just in case anyone is still confused by what I said/meant when I said "SOA is Dead; Long Live Services": "SOA" as a term has lost its luster, but "SOA" as a practice is essential for all organizations going forward. Many organizations have invested millions into SOA, and they have little benefit to show for it. Some organizations are worse off than when they started. Given the tight economy, business people aren't particularly interested in pouring more money into what looks like a sinking ship. If you want to get funding this year for your SOA initiative, you should probably avoid using the word "SOA" and instead focus your efforts on building "services" that deliver measurable value to the business.

Yes, Anne is right. So let’s get over it and move on.

[ See also: "SOA: Dead or just in 'phase 2'?" | Keep up with the latest software and systems architecture news with InfoWorld's weekly Architecture newsletter. ]

SOA had a tough timing starting up, and those who invested in SOA initially have had very little to show for it. The core issues, as I’ve been stating for years, are really around the talent of those implementing SOA, the “technology first, architecture second” approach to SOA, and the inflated expectations where SOA was solving everything from bad IT to global terrorism. In essence, it never had a chance.

However, while many found SOA to be complex and elusive, we’re clearly moving into a new era where SOA is morphing into a core architectural tenant and is really fading into the seams of enterprise architecture, providing the appropriate value as what it is -- just a handy architectural pattern. In other words, SOA is more about doing things right than technology. More about figuring things out prior to doing, rather than doing to figure things out.

We’re off in a healthy direction, so let’s not ruin that. Time to move on from the “SOA is dead” debate to something a bit more productive. Agreed?

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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