Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Aruna Ravichandran, Pat Romanski, Cameron Van Orman

Related Topics: Microservices Expo

Microservices Expo: Article

Ten Things to Think About When Building the Perfect SOA

Why we're learning more about making SOAs work the first time

Right now the implementation of SOAs seems involve much more hype than actual work. However, there are some patterns beginning to emerge, or, procedures the implementers are doing right to insure success. These patterns are not always obvious, so perhaps this is a good time to learn through the successes of others and do our own homework before we spend millions on moving to an SOA.

It's also important to note that our thinking is always evolving. As we learn what works, or perhaps more importantly, what does not work, we get closer to near perfect implementations that bring huge value to their enterprises or problem domains. Granted, some of this is trial and error. Let's explore each emerging pattern.

1.  Focus holistically, act locally
SOAs are all-encompassing architectures, not mere projects, and those who consider them "projects" are doomed to failure. You're in for a pound when implementing an SOA due to the fact that, the more penetration the architecture gets, the more value it has within the enterprise.

However, since an SOA is the sum of its parts, you must consider the component parts as well, including notions such as identity management, semantic management, orchestration, etc., and how each part makes up the larger solution. An SOA is only as good as the weakest component, and neglecting a component will kill an SOA before it gets off the ground.

2.  Define the value
As technologists we don't always want to make business cases for the technology. Indeed, we have a tendency to leverage the most popular technology without regard for how its use will affect the bottom line - not a good practice if you want IT to have a strategic position within an organization.

We build SOAs because they provide an infrastructure for agility, or the ability to change processes in support of a changing business, or both. They also allow for reuse: the ability to reuse application behaviors from system to system without having to port and retest code. Your ability to define a business case around these notions needs to occur before you begin your movement toward an SOA.

3.  Don't neglect service design
At the end of the day, services are small, specific applications and need just as much attention paid to design. If SOA supports composite applications and composite processes made up of services, then the overall design of services will determine the overall success of things made out of those services...it's just that simple. Tried and true design techniques are applicable for service design as well. Please use them.

First and foremost, services should be designed for reuse. Services become a part of any number of other applications, and thus must be designed to provide behavior and information, but not be application specific.

Services have to be designed for heterogeneity. Web services should be built so that there are no calls to native interfaces or platforms. A Web service, say one built on Linux, may be leveraged by applications on Windows, Macs, even mainframes. Those that leverage your service should do so without regard for how it was created, and should be completely platform independent.

4.  Leveraging a legacy is unavoidable
Embrace your legacy systems. In fact, they may be the majority of services that you leverage within your SOA. This means service-enablement of systems that you would consider old and outdated, but indeed serve a purpose within the business and thus serve a purpose within your SOA. Those who attempt to displace and replace existing systems, just to support new technology, are destined to make their work much more complex and far reaching than it need be.

5.  Remember the semantics
If you don't understand application semantics, or, simply put, the meaning of data, then you have no hope of creating a proper SOA. You must understand the data to define the proper integration flows and transformation scenarios, and provide service-oriented frameworks to your data integration domain, which means levels of abstraction, as well as how data is bound to services.

You must always deal with semantics, and how to describe semantics relative to a multitude of information systems. There is also a need to formalize this process, putting some additional methodology and technology behind the management of metadata, as well as the relationships therein.

6.  The proper place for orchestration
For our purposes we can define orchestration as a standards-based mechanism that defines how Web services work together, including business logic, sequencing, exception handling, and process decomposition, including service and process reuse. Orchestrations may span a few internal systems, systems between organizations, or both. Moreover, orchestrations are long-running, multistep transactions that are almost always controlled by one business party, and are loosely coupled and asynchronous in nature. While all SOAs don't need orchestration, most do, and you must find the right fit and application.

7.  Security soaks in as you execute; it's not an afterthought
So, why do we need identity management? Also, why do we need to think about this stuff during the creation of our SOA? It's a fact that Web services are not for internal use anymore, and those who leverage Web services (consumers), or produce Web services (providers), need to be known to each, else we risk invoking malicious or incorrect behavior, which could cost us dearly.

Identity is important in the growth of sensitive data and confidential relationships online. If lacking identities, there is no way to provide certain users with access to certain resources. These relationships are complex, and can't be understood and created after the SOA is complete. The design of security is systemic.

8.  Classify the patterns of use
As we build an SOA, we need to determine how the SOA will be leveraged within the enterprise - not only now, but in the future. Thus we need to determine patterns of use for several reasons, including:

  • Understanding the value of the SOA
  • Understanding how we will test the SOA
  • Understanding how we can improve the SOA
9.  Persistence is important
You need to think about persistence for a few reasons, including federation of services around the SOA. When building an SOA you may end up with composites or processes created out of services that may exist over a dozen or more different systems, and as such, persistence becomes more complex if done at the points. So, in these types of situations (which are becoming more common), it makes good sense to centralize the persistence for the composites and processes, as well as some supporting services to a central data tier or central data service. This data tier exposes a custom schema view or views to the composites, and may also abstract some data at the points as well.

10.  Don't skimp on testing
To insure proper testing, a test plan will have to be put in place. While a detailed discussion of a test plan is beyond the scope of this article, it is really just a step-by-step procedure detailing how the SOA will be tested when completed, using all of the patterns already discussed. A test plan is particularly important because of the difficulty of testing an SOA solution. Most source and target systems are business-critical and therefore cannot be taken offline. As a result, testing these systems can be a bit tricky.

New patterns continue to emerge, and each SOA is unique and deserves careful consideration. However, these patterns should provide a good base on which to plan your next SOA.

More Stories By David Linthicum

Dave Linthicum is Sr. VP at Cloud Technology Partners, and an internationally known cloud computing and SOA expert. He is a sought-after consultant, speaker, and blogger. In his career, Dave has formed or enhanced many of the ideas behind modern distributed computing including EAI, B2B Application Integration, and SOA, approaches and technologies in wide use today. In addition, he is the Editor-in-Chief of SYS-CON's Virtualization Journal.

For the last 10 years, he has focused on the technology and strategies around cloud computing, including working with several cloud computing startups. His industry experience includes tenure as CTO and CEO of several successful software and cloud computing companies, and upper-level management positions in Fortune 500 companies. In addition, he was an associate professor of computer science for eight years, and continues to lecture at major technical colleges and universities, including University of Virginia and Arizona State University. He keynotes at many leading technology conferences, and has several well-read columns and blogs. Linthicum has authored 10 books, including the ground-breaking "Enterprise Application Integration" and "B2B Application Integration." You can reach him at [email protected] Or follow him on Twitter. Or view his profile on LinkedIn.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@MicroservicesExpo Stories
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to w...
Is advanced scheduling in Kubernetes achievable? Yes, however, how do you properly accommodate every real-life scenario that a Kubernetes user might encounter? How do you leverage advanced scheduling techniques to shape and describe each scenario in easy-to-use rules and configurations? In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Oleg Chunikhin, CTO at Kublr, will answer these questions and demonstrate techniques for implementing advanced scheduling. For example, using spot instances ...
We all know that end users experience the Internet primarily with mobile devices. From an app development perspective, we know that successfully responding to the needs of mobile customers depends on rapid DevOps – failing fast, in short, until the right solution evolves in your customers' relationship to your business. Whether you’re decomposing an SOA monolith, or developing a new application cloud natively, it’s not a question of using microservices – not doing so will be a path to eventual b...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Michael Burley, a Senior Business Development Executive in IT Services at NetApp, will describe how NetApp designed a three-year program of work to migrate 25PB of a major telco's enterprise data to a new STaaS platform, and then secured a long-term contract to manage and operate the platform. This significant program blended the best of NetApp’s solutions and services capabilities to enable this telco’s successful adoption of private cloud storage and launchi...
Transforming cloud-based data into a reportable format can be a very expensive, time-intensive and complex operation. As a SaaS platform with more than 30 million global users, Cornerstone OnDemand’s challenge was to create a scalable solution that would improve the time it took customers to access their user data. Our Real-Time Data Warehouse (RTDW) process vastly reduced data time-to-availability from 24 hours to just 10 minutes. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Mark Goldin, Chief Technolo...
Digital transformation leaders have poured tons of money and effort into coding in recent years. And with good reason. To succeed at digital, you must be able to write great code. You also have to build a strong Agile culture so your coding efforts tightly align with market signals and business outcomes. But if your investments in testing haven’t kept pace with your investments in coding, you’ll lose. But if your investments in testing haven’t kept pace with your investments in coding, you’ll...
Enterprises are adopting Kubernetes to accelerate the development and the delivery of cloud-native applications. However, sharing a Kubernetes cluster between members of the same team can be challenging. And, sharing clusters across multiple teams is even harder. Kubernetes offers several constructs to help implement segmentation and isolation. However, these primitives can be complex to understand and apply. As a result, it’s becoming common for enterprises to end up with several clusters. Thi...
Containers are rapidly finding their way into enterprise data centers, but change is difficult. How do enterprises transform their architecture with technologies like containers without losing the reliable components of their current solutions? In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Tony Campbell, Director, Educational Services at CoreOS, will explore the challenges organizations are facing today as they move to containers and go over how Kubernetes applications can deploy with lega...
Today most companies are adopting or evaluating container technology - Docker in particular - to speed up application deployment, drive down cost, ease management and make application delivery more flexible overall. As with most new architectures, this dream takes significant work to become a reality. Even when you do get your application componentized enough and packaged properly, there are still challenges for DevOps teams to making the shift to continuous delivery and achieving that reducti...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Academy has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct. 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloud Academy is the leading technology training platform for enterprise multi-cloud infrastructure. Cloud Academy is trusted by leading companies to deliver continuous learning solutions across Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and the most...
The last two years has seen discussions about cloud computing evolve from the public / private / hybrid split to the reality that most enterprises will be creating a complex, multi-cloud strategy. Companies are wary of committing all of their resources to a single cloud, and instead are choosing to spread the risk – and the benefits – of cloud computing across multiple providers and internal infrastructures, as they follow their business needs. Will this approach be successful? How large is the ...
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm. In their Day 3 Keynote at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Brown, a Solutions Marketing Manager at Nutanix, and Mark Lav...
Many organizations adopt DevOps to reduce cycle times and deliver software faster; some take on DevOps to drive higher quality and better end-user experience; others look to DevOps for a clearer line-of-sight to customers to drive better business impacts. In truth, these three foundations go together. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit 21st Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Co-Chair Andi Mann, industry experts will discuss how leading organizations build application success from all...
DevSecOps – a trend around transformation in process, people and technology – is about breaking down silos and waste along the software development lifecycle and using agile methodologies, automation and insights to help get apps to market faster. This leads to higher quality apps, greater trust in organizations, less organizational friction, and ultimately a five-star customer experience. These apps are the new competitive currency in this digital economy and they’re powered by data. Without ...
A common misconception about the cloud is that one size fits all. Companies expecting to run all of their operations using one cloud solution or service must realize that doing so is akin to forcing the totality of their business functionality into a straightjacket. Unlocking the full potential of the cloud means embracing the multi-cloud future where businesses use their own cloud, and/or clouds from different vendors, to support separate functions or product groups. There is no single cloud so...
For most organizations, the move to hybrid cloud is now a question of when, not if. Fully 82% of enterprises plan to have a hybrid cloud strategy this year, according to Infoholic Research. The worldwide hybrid cloud computing market is expected to grow about 34% annually over the next five years, reaching $241.13 billion by 2022. Companies are embracing hybrid cloud because of the many advantages it offers compared to relying on a single provider for all of their cloud needs. Hybrid offers bala...
With the modern notion of digital transformation, enterprises are chipping away at the fundamental organizational and operational structures that have been with us since the nineteenth century or earlier. One remarkable casualty: the business process. Business processes have become so ingrained in how we envision large organizations operating and the roles people play within them that relegating them to the scrap heap is almost unimaginable, and unquestionably transformative. In the Digital ...
These days, APIs have become an integral part of the digital transformation journey for all enterprises. Every digital innovation story is connected to APIs . But have you ever pondered over to know what are the source of these APIs? Let me explain - APIs sources can be varied, internal or external, solving different purposes, but mostly categorized into the following two categories. Data lakes is a term used to represent disconnected but relevant data that are used by various business units wit...
The nature of the technology business is forward-thinking. It focuses on the future and what’s coming next. Innovations and creativity in our world of software development strive to improve the status quo and increase customer satisfaction through speed and increased connectivity. Yet, while it's exciting to see enterprises embrace new ways of thinking and advance their processes with cutting edge technology, it rarely happens rapidly or even simultaneously across all industries.
It has never been a better time to be a developer! Thanks to cloud computing, deploying our applications is much easier than it used to be. How we deploy our apps continues to evolve thanks to cloud hosting, Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and now Function-as-a-Service. FaaS is the concept of serverless computing via serverless architectures. Software developers can leverage this to deploy an individual "function", action, or piece of business logic. They are expected to start within milliseconds...