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Anne explains why SOA does not have to be expensive

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  • Gervas Douglas
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 1, 2008
      << Blogger: Anne Thomas Manes


      It's a common misconception that SOA is expensive. Many organizations believe that they need to acquire a boat-load of new products and technologies to get started with SOA. First on the list of product acquisitions is an ESB, followed by registries, repositories, and security appliances. In these belt-tightening times, many SOA initiatives will be challenged to raise the funding required to acquire these products. So what's a team to do? Pack up and wait for better times? Or make do with what you have?

      In truth (and much to the vendors' dismay), you don't need a bunch of new products to do SOA. SOA is about the way you design your solutions -- not about the technology you use to build them. An ESB is a "nice to have", but it's not a prerequisite. Pretty much all programming environments (Java, .NET, Ruby, Groovy, PHP, JavaScript, COBOL, CICS, etc) now include native support for building services -- both method- or document-oriented services built with SOAP and WSDL and RESTful services built with HTTP. You can also build document-oriented services using your favorite message-oriented middleware product (although MOM protocols will limit your reach and interoperability options). (I described the differences among the three types of services here. And see here and here for some great references on RESTful services.)

      The only new product that an organization should really budget for is a management solution -- one that supports administration, monitoring, security, and mediation of service interactions (e.g., AmberPoint, Progress Actional, SOA Software Service Manager. Many platform vendors also provide management solutions--sometimes reselling AmberPoint [Oracle and Tibco]).

      For organizations that need an ESB, consider open source solutions. Mike Kavis posted a nice summary of open source SOA stacks here. David Linthicum has also been extolling the benefits of an open source SOA product strategy here. Both Mike and Dave point out that the open source solutions tend to be easier to use and more cohesively integrated than the big vendor alternatives. Unfortunately, none of the open source solutions provides a comprehensive management solution yet.

      The leading open source projects have commercial backers that provide support, education, and consulting services. For more information about open source (subscribers only), see the following documents:

      You can read Anne's blog at:


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