Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Zakia Bouachraoui

Related Topics: Microservices Expo

Microservices Expo: Article

Would You Buy SOA From This Man?

What does it takes to actually sell someone on the concept of using service-oriented architecture?

This month I thought I'd put on my sales hat for a moment and talk about what it takes to actually sell someone on the concept of using service-oriented architecture as the underlying paradigm for an organization's information technology implementation and direction. In part this is because there's still a good deal of resistance to SOA as that basis.

In the early days of trying to persuade corporations that SOA is a good thing, there was a great deal of commotion around the issue of security. The perception was that services were not really secure - and in fact, the very basic Web services standards of HTTP, SOAP, WSDL, UDDI and XML are not secure, other than perhaps with an SSL layer. But we've managed to put a stake in the heart of that specter, and worries about security now revolve more around proper implementation than around the actual availability of capabilities of an SOA to provide security.

Yet, while this had seemed at one point to be the sole stumbling block, why haven't we seen the floodgates open and a million SOA implementation take place? This is the key question.

SOA for many is like source code management. Unquestionably, source management is a good thing when we talk about software development, but the question that always comes to mind is - how do you quantify the goodness? Is there a return on the investment, which includes time, dollars, and software? Conventional wisdom says there is (and I personally believe it strongly), but at the same time, when was the last time someone actually presented actual cost savings for source code management.

I bring this up to point out the similarity of the situation with respect to service-oriented architecture. SOA provides key advantages that are fairly easy to see - loose coupling, application composition rather than development, the ability to manage services on a granular basis, and finer control of the actual work done by information technology. Integration, which becomes crucial the minute a business has more than one software system, is the key facet of SOA that makes every technologist realize that SOA is a better way to do software and implement processes.

The key difficulty with selling SOA as a concept for how to do technology is quantifying the actual benefit that results from using services. In business terms, determining the ROI of a change to SOA is what's important, but, perversely, it's also very hard to capture the value of SOA in absence of some business change to accompany it.

Look at it this way - it's easy to say, and also easy to understand and agree on the fact that SOA makes software integration much easier. But what is the dollar value of that ease, and how much of an effect will it have over time? That's the difficult question that is holding back funding of SOA in the current world. Sometimes you can quantify parts of it, such as saying you no longer need a particular EAI package, so your license, maintenance and operating costs could be viewed as the cost savings against which the cost of the implementation could be measured. Those cases are the simple ones, the ones where it's easy to make the case to go ahead with SOA. Unfortunately, in most shops, the case for a pure SOA conversion is much less clear. The ability to do something "better" needs to be correlated to a reduction in cost, or an increase in productivity, or both.

Most SOA approaches are couched in the context of some business improvement or other. It might be the deployment of a new ERP system, where the benefit of decoupled services can be quantified more easily due to the nature of the services and the cost of maintenance versus the same task with monolithic applications. Many IT shops are making SOA concepts - services, service buses, asynchronous invocations, and the like - a part of future designs and hoping at some point, when the shop looks more service oriented than not, that funding to go the rest of the way will be easier to acquire. That may be the way SOA comes into full fruition, not with a bang, but with a series of small improvements. Happy holidays and have a great new year.

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 (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.


Microservices Articles
Lori MacVittie is a subject matter expert on emerging technology responsible for outbound evangelism across F5's entire product suite. MacVittie has extensive development and technical architecture experience in both high-tech and enterprise organizations, in addition to network and systems administration expertise. Prior to joining F5, MacVittie was an award-winning technology editor at Network Computing Magazine where she evaluated and tested application-focused technologies including app secu...
Using new techniques of information modeling, indexing, and processing, new cloud-based systems can support cloud-based workloads previously not possible for high-throughput insurance, banking, and case-based applications. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, John Newton, CTO, Founder and Chairman of Alfresco, described how to scale cloud-based content management repositories to store, manage, and retrieve billions of documents and related information with fast and linear scalability. He addresse...
Adding public cloud resources to an existing application can be a daunting process. The tools that you currently use to manage the software and hardware outside the cloud aren’t always the best tools to efficiently grow into the cloud. All of the major configuration management tools have cloud orchestration plugins that can be leveraged, but there are also cloud-native tools that can dramatically improve the efficiency of managing your application lifecycle. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, ...
The now mainstream platform changes stemming from the first Internet boom brought many changes but didn’t really change the basic relationship between servers and the applications running on them. In fact, that was sort of the point. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Gordon Haff, senior cloud strategy marketing and evangelism manager at Red Hat, will discuss how today’s workloads require a new model and a new platform for development and execution. The platform must handle a wide range of rec...
Containers and Kubernetes allow for code portability across on-premise VMs, bare metal, or multiple cloud provider environments. Yet, despite this portability promise, developers may include configuration and application definitions that constrain or even eliminate application portability. In this session we'll describe best practices for "configuration as code" in a Kubernetes environment. We will demonstrate how a properly constructed containerized app can be deployed to both Amazon and Azure ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that DatacenterDynamics has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. DatacenterDynamics is a brand of DCD Group, a global B2B media and publishing company that develops products to help senior professionals in the world's most ICT dependent organizations make risk-based infrastructure and capacity decisions.
Discussions of cloud computing have evolved in recent years from a focus on specific types of cloud, to a world of hybrid cloud, and to a world dominated by the APIs that make today's multi-cloud environments and hybrid clouds possible. In this Power Panel at 17th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the importance of customers being able to use the specific technologies they need, through environments and ecosystems that expose their APIs to make true ...
In his keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Sheng Liang, co-founder and CEO of Rancher Labs, discussed the technological advances and new business opportunities created by the rapid adoption of containers. With the success of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and various open source technologies used to build private clouds, cloud computing has become an essential component of IT strategy. However, users continue to face challenges in implementing clouds, as older technologies evolve and newer ones like Docker c...
CloudEXPO New York 2018, colocated with DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location.
DevOpsSummit New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DXWorldEXPO within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term.