Click here to close now.


Microservices Expo Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Pat Romanski, Lori MacVittie

Related Topics: Microservices Expo, Industrial IoT

Microservices Expo: Article

SOA Editorial - A Little Help from My Friends

SOA is not just technology, it's philosophy, organizational change, and business transformation

It's sometimes funny to write about service-oriented architecture. One of the things I say often and believe is that you can't buy a service-oriented architecture. SOA is not just technology, it's philosophy, organizational change, and business transformation. There's no place to buy that kind of dramatic, deeply impacting change.

The funny part, at least to me, is that you can, however, buy or acquire a good deal of infrastructure to set this up from a single source. In the industry, we call that a platform. And that's what this month's issue is about - SOA platforms.

Service-oriented architecture is a powerful concept - at its base, it replaces the concept of an application with the concept of a service. This isn't trivial. For 40 or more years, we've dealt with computers in the context of applications (I've left a few years off my count to account for the years before operating systems when we were really talking about programs, or code). We have the context of an application firmly established - people go to their computers, interact with applications, and do work.

SOA is about the next phase of computing - enabling computers to do some of the work unaided (computer-to-computer interaction), and freeing the user from having to interact with application after application to get work done. Anyone who's ever dealt with a call center and had to wait on the phone while the call center representative said, "Now give me just a minute, I have to bring up another application to do that," knows how frustrating, time-consuming, and challenging the traditional application-centric approach can be. Services (and the composite applications that no longer require the user to switch between applications to do a single business process) are the way we plan to break the tyranny of the application and take back control of the computer.

Services don't exist in a vacuum. Part of the chicken and egg problem we have in moving from applications to services is that services make only a limited amount of sense in the context of a single application, so there's not a strong impetus for application developers to use a service-based approach toward design when creating applications. Similarly, when you take a holistic view of the enterprise, you don't necessarily see the catalog of services you'd like to have to really establish a true architecture, and derive the highest value from composing processes from services.

That's where a platform becomes the middle ground and the way out of the chicken and egg problem. By establishing a platform for the enterprise, you can start to drive applications toward becoming services. A platform should provide discovery, registration, an ESB at the minimum, with most platforms also including security and management services as well. When you start to build your applications (or buy them specifically for the platform in many cases) to take advantage of the service orientation of the platform, you start to realize the advantage of the platform, and move past the challenge of service-enabling applications.

It also underscores the importance of getting a strong platform, one where the parts all work together well. You may not want to get everything from a single source or, depending upon your enterprise needs, you may not be able to do so. A soup-to-nuts infrastructure out of the box from a single vendor is not necessarily nirvana anyway, as those of you who've had the best-of-breed discussions over the years can attest. What is important is establishing an SOA infrastructure, or platform, on which an enterprise can leverage its application portfolio. The platform enables the portfolio transformation that must occur in order to move from an application orientation to a service orientation.

So it's funny, even though I don't think you can buy an SOA, I definitely think you can acquire a platform, and you're much better off with one then without.

More Stories By Sean Rhody

Sean Rhody is the founding-editor (1999) and editor-in-chief of SOA World Magazine. He is a respected industry expert on SOA and Web Services and a consultant with a leading consulting services company. Most recently, Sean served as the tech chair of SOA World Conference & Expo 2007 East.

Comments (2) View Comments

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.

Most Recent Comments
SOA Web Services Journal News 07/24/06 04:18:03 PM EDT

It's sometimes funny to write about service-oriented architecture. One of the things I say often and believe is that you can't buy a service-oriented architecture. SOA is not just technology, it's philosophy, organizational change, and business transformation. There's no place to buy that kind of dramatic, deeply impacting change.

SOA Web Services Journal News 07/24/06 04:17:52 PM EDT

It's sometimes funny to write about service-oriented architecture. One of the things I say often and believe is that you can't buy a service-oriented architecture. SOA is not just technology, it's philosophy, organizational change, and business transformation. There's no place to buy that kind of dramatic, deeply impacting change.

@MicroservicesExpo Stories
In their session at DevOps Summit, Asaf Yigal, co-founder and the VP of Product at, and Tomer Levy, co-founder and CEO of, will explore the entire process that they have undergone – through research, benchmarking, implementation, optimization, and customer success – in developing a processing engine that can handle petabytes of data. They will also discuss the requirements of such an engine in terms of scalability, resilience, security, and availability along with how the archi...
Containers are revolutionizing the way we deploy and maintain our infrastructures, but monitoring and troubleshooting in a containerized environment can still be painful and impractical. Understanding even basic resource usage is difficult - let alone tracking network connections or malicious activity. In his session at DevOps Summit, Gianluca Borello, Sr. Software Engineer at Sysdig, will cover the current state of the art for container monitoring and visibility, including pros / cons and li...
Manufacturing has widely adopted standardized and automated processes to create designs, build them, and maintain them through their life cycle. However, many modern manufacturing systems go beyond mechanized workflows to introduce empowered workers, flexible collaboration, and rapid iteration. Such behaviors also characterize open source software development and are at the heart of DevOps culture, processes, and tooling.
DevOps has often been described in terms of CAMS: Culture, Automation, Measuring, Sharing. While we’ve seen a lot of focus on the “A” and even on the “M”, there are very few examples of why the “C" is equally important in the DevOps equation. In her session at @DevOps Summit, Lori MacVittie, of F5 Networks, will explore HTTP/1 and HTTP/2 along with Microservices to illustrate why a collaborative culture between Dev, Ops, and the Network is critical to ensuring success.
The APN DevOps Competency highlights APN Partners who demonstrate deep capabilities delivering continuous integration, continuous delivery, and configuration management. They help customers transform their business to be more efficient and agile by leveraging the AWS platform and DevOps principles.
Containers are changing the security landscape for software development and deployment. As with any security solutions, security approaches that work for developers, operations personnel and security professionals is a requirement. In his session at @DevOpsSummit, Kevin Gilpin, CTO and Co-Founder of Conjur, will discuss various security considerations for container-based infrastructure and related DevOps workflows.
Application availability is not just the measure of “being up”. Many apps can claim that status. Technically they are running and responding to requests, but at a rate which users would certainly interpret as being down. That’s because excessive load times can (and will be) interpreted as “not available.” That’s why it’s important to view ensuring application availability as requiring attention to all its composite parts: scalability, performance, and security.
Saviynt Inc. has announced the availability of the next release of Saviynt for AWS. The comprehensive security and compliance solution provides a Command-and-Control center to gain visibility into risks in AWS, enforce real-time protection of critical workloads as well as data and automate access life-cycle governance. The solution enables AWS customers to meet their compliance mandates such as ITAR, SOX, PCI, etc. by including an extensive risk and controls library to detect known threats and b...
Any Ops team trying to support a company in today’s cloud-connected world knows that a new way of thinking is required – one just as dramatic than the shift from Ops to DevOps. The diversity of modern operations requires teams to focus their impact on breadth vs. depth. In his session at DevOps Summit, Adam Serediuk, Director of Operations at xMatters, Inc., will discuss the strategic requirements of evolving from Ops to DevOps, and why modern Operations has begun leveraging the “NoOps” approa...
Clearly the way forward is to move to cloud be it bare metal, VMs or containers. One aspect of the current public clouds that is slowing this cloud migration is cloud lock-in. Every cloud vendor is trying to make it very difficult to move out once a customer has chosen their cloud. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Naveen Nimmu, CEO of Clouber, Inc., will advocate that making the inter-cloud migration as simple as changing airlines would help the entire industry to quickly adopt the cloud wit...
IT data is typically silo'd by the various tools in place. Unifying all the log, metric and event data in one analytics platform stops finger pointing and provides the end-to-end correlation. Logs, metrics and custom event data can be joined to tell the holistic story of your software and operations. For example, users can correlate code deploys to system performance to application error codes.
Overgrown applications have given way to modular applications, driven by the need to break larger problems into smaller problems. Similarly large monolithic development processes have been forced to be broken into smaller agile development cycles. Looking at trends in software development, microservices architectures meet the same demands. Additional benefits of microservices architectures are compartmentalization and a limited impact of service failure versus a complete software malfunction....
Between the compelling mockups and specs produced by analysts, and resulting applications built by developers, there exists a gulf where projects fail, costs spiral, and applications disappoint. Methodologies like Agile attempt to address this with intensified communication, with partial success but many limitations. In his session at DevOps Summit, Charles Kendrick, CTO and Chief Architect at Isomorphic Software, will present a revolutionary model enabled by new technologies. Learn how busine...
At DevOps Summit NY there’s been a whole lot of talk about not just DevOps, but containers, IoT, and microservices. Sessions focused not just on the cultural shift needed to grow at scale with a DevOps approach, but also made sure to include the network ”plumbing” needed to ensure success as applications decompose into the microservice architectures enabling rapid growth and support for the Internet of (Every)Things.
For it to be SOA – let alone SOA done right – we need to pin down just what "SOA done wrong" might be. First-generation SOA with Web Services and ESBs, perhaps? But then there's second-generation, REST-based SOA. More lightweight and cloud-friendly, but many REST-based SOA practices predate the microservices wave. Today, microservices and containers go hand in hand – only the details of "container-oriented architecture" are largely on the drawing board – and are not likely to look much like S...
The web app is agile. The REST API is agile. The testing and planning are agile. But alas, data infrastructures certainly are not. Once an application matures, changing the shape or indexing scheme of data often forces at best a top down planning exercise and at worst includes schema changes that force downtime. The time has come for a new approach that fundamentally advances the agility of distributed data infrastructures. Come learn about a new solution to the problems faced by software organ...
Our guest on the podcast this week is Jason Bloomberg, President at Intellyx. When we build services we want them to be lightweight, stateless and scalable while doing one thing really well. In today's cloud world, we're revisiting what to takes to make a good service in the first place. Listen in to learn why following "the book" doesn't necessarily mean that you're solving key business problems.
Apps and devices shouldn't stop working when there's limited or no network connectivity. Learn how to bring data stored in a cloud database to the edge of the network (and back again) whenever an Internet connection is available. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bradley Holt, Developer Advocate at IBM Cloud Data Services, will demonstrate techniques for replicating cloud databases with devices in order to build offline-first mobile or Internet of Things (IoT) apps that can provide a better, ...
Despite all the talk about public cloud services and DevOps, you would think the move to cloud for enterprises is clear and simple. But in a survey of almost 1,600 IT decision makers across the USA and Europe, the state of the cloud in enterprise today is still fraught with considerable frustration. The business case for apps in the real world cloud is hybrid, bimodal, multi-platform, and difficult. Download this report commissioned by NTT Communications to see the insightful findings – registra...
With containerization using Docker, the orchestration of containers using Kubernetes, the self-service model for provisioning your projects and applications and the workflows we built in OpenShift is the best in class Platform as a Service that enables introducing DevOps into your organization with ease. In his session at DevOps Summit, Veer Muchandi, PaaS evangelist with RedHat, will provide a deep dive overview of OpenShift v3 and demonstrate how it helps with DevOps.