Breaking SOA bottlenecks

Those who experiment with SOA on a small scale generally have a smooth ride. But start to scale, and obstacles quickly emerge. Here are the common SOA choke points -- and their antidotes

SOA has gone from just another three-letter acronym to the Holy Grail for agility-seeking enterprises. A horde of vendors and consultants are pitching SOA stuff, from app dev tools to enterprise service buses. The SOA label has even wrapped itself around conventional software, from vertical telephony applications to monolithic ERP suites. Can the SOA mainframe be far behind?

Yet tools and applications, even those totally relevant to SOA, get you only so far. Any enterprise embarking on an SOA journey needs to know where it’s going and how to make the right preparations. Fortunately, SOA has been around long enough for some top-level best practices to emerge. And frameworks and maturity models from vendors and consultancies are beginning to crystallize.

So are the barriers and bottlenecks that thwart SOA efforts. Some are technical, but most are managerial — tough issues that will put IT in new, often uncomfortable roles that may test all participants’ faith in whether IT and business are truly aligned. In fact, last year an AMR Research survey of more than 1,000 companies revealed that organizational and management challenges were the principal reasons both IT and business respondents cited for not pursuing SOA.

The good news is that by understanding these barriers, you can plot a way around them. Or at least prepare yourself for the encounter.

Getting the concept

Selling the dream

Hammering out the architecture

Scoping out services

Timing the technology choice

Addressing the data problem

Governance, governance, governance

Changing developer culture

Avoiding vendor lock-in

Putting services to the test

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.