Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Carmen Gonzalez, Kalyan Ramanathan, Liz McMillan, Sematext Blog, Elizabeth White

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.


@MicroservicesExpo Stories
@DevOpsSummit taking place June 6-8, 2017 at Javits Center, New York City, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo New York Call for Papers is now open.
Logs are continuous digital records of events generated by all components of your software stack – and they’re everywhere – your networks, servers, applications, containers and cloud infrastructure just to name a few. The data logs provide are like an X-ray for your IT infrastructure. Without logs, this lack of visibility creates operational challenges for managing modern applications that drive today’s digital businesses.
Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more business becomes digital the more stakeholders are interested in this data including how it relates to business. Some of these people have never used a monitoring tool before. They have a question on their mind like “How is my application doing” but no id...
In IT, we sometimes coin terms for things before we know exactly what they are and how they’ll be used. The resulting terms may capture a common set of aspirations and goals – as “cloud” did broadly for on-demand, self-service, and flexible computing. But such a term can also lump together diverse and even competing practices, technologies, and priorities to the point where important distinctions are glossed over and lost.
Monitoring of Docker environments is challenging. Why? Because each container typically runs a single process, has its own environment, utilizes virtual networks, or has various methods of managing storage. Traditional monitoring solutions take metrics from each server and applications they run. These servers and applications running on them are typically very static, with very long uptimes. Docker deployments are different: a set of containers may run many applications, all sharing the resource...
Without lifecycle traceability and visibility across the tool chain, stakeholders from Planning-to-Ops have limited insight and answers to who, what, when, why and how across the DevOps lifecycle. This impacts the ability to deliver high quality software at the needed velocity to drive positive business outcomes. In his session at @DevOpsSummit 19th Cloud Expo, Eric Robertson, General Manager at CollabNet, showed how customers are able to achieve a level of transparency that enables everyone fro...
Information technology is an industry that has always experienced change, and the dramatic change sweeping across the industry today could not be truthfully described as the first time we've seen such widespread change impacting customer investments. However, the rate of the change, and the potential outcomes from today's digital transformation has the distinct potential to separate the industry into two camps: Organizations that see the change coming, embrace it, and successful leverage it; and...
Join Impiger for their featured webinar: ‘Cloud Computing: A Roadmap to Modern Software Delivery’ on November 10, 2016, at 12:00 pm CST. Very few companies have not experienced some impact to their IT delivery due to the evolution of cloud computing. This webinar is not about deciding whether you should entertain moving some or all of your IT to the cloud, but rather, a detailed look under the hood to help IT professionals understand how cloud adoption has evolved and what trends will impact th...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. @ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
You have great SaaS business app ideas. You want to turn your idea quickly into a functional and engaging proof of concept. You need to be able to modify it to meet customers' needs, and you need to deliver a complete and secure SaaS application. How could you achieve all the above and yet avoid unforeseen IT requirements that add unnecessary cost and complexity? You also want your app to be responsive in any device at any time. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Allen, General Manager of...
Keeping pace with advancements in software delivery processes and tooling is taxing even for the most proficient organizations. Point tools, platforms, open source and the increasing adoption of private and public cloud services requires strong engineering rigor – all in the face of developer demands to use the tools of choice. As Agile has settled in as a mainstream practice, now DevOps has emerged as the next wave to improve software delivery speed and output. To make DevOps work, organization...
"Dice has been around for the last 20 years. We have been helping tech professionals find new jobs and career opportunities," explained Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Rapid innovation, changing business landscapes, and new IT demands force businesses to make changes quickly. In the eyes of many, containers are at the brink of becoming a pervasive technology in enterprise IT to accelerate application delivery. In this presentation, attendees learned about the: The transformation of IT to a DevOps, microservices, and container-based architecture What are containers and how DevOps practices can operate in a container-based environment A demonstration of how ...
More and more companies are looking to microservices as an architectural pattern for breaking apart applications into more manageable pieces so that agile teams can deliver new features quicker and more effectively. What this pattern has done more than anything to date is spark organizational transformations, setting the foundation for future application development. In practice, however, there are a number of considerations to make that go beyond simply “build, ship, and run,” which changes how...
Without lifecycle traceability and visibility across the tool chain, stakeholders from Planning-to-Ops have limited insight and answers to who, what, when, why and how across the DevOps lifecycle. This impacts the ability to deliver high quality software at the needed velocity to drive positive business outcomes. In his general session at @DevOpsSummit at 19th Cloud Expo, Phil Hombledal, Solution Architect at CollabNet, discussed how customers are able to achieve a level of transparency that e...
Between 2005 and 2020, data volumes will grow by a factor of 300 – enough data to stack CDs from the earth to the moon 162 times. This has come to be known as the ‘big data’ phenomenon. Unfortunately, traditional approaches to handling, storing and analyzing data aren’t adequate at this scale: they’re too costly, slow and physically cumbersome to keep up. Fortunately, in response a new breed of technology has emerged that is cheaper, faster and more scalable. Yet, in meeting these new needs they...
In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Claude Remillard, Principal Program Manager in Developer Division at Microsoft, contrasted how his team used config as code and immutable patterns for continuous delivery of microservices and apps to the cloud. He showed how the immutable patterns helps developers do away with most of the complexity of config as code-enabling scenarios such as rollback, zero downtime upgrades with far greater simplicity. He also demoed building immutable pipelines in the cloud ...
Application transformation and DevOps practices are two sides of the same coin. Enterprises that want to capture value faster, need to deliver value faster – time value of money principle. To do that enterprises need to build cloud-native apps as microservices by empowering teams to build, ship, and run in production. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 19th Cloud Expo, Neil Gehani, senior product manager at HPE, discussed what every business should plan for how to structure their teams to delive...
As we enter the final week before the 19th International Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo in Santa Clara, CA, it's time for me to reflect on six big topics that will be important during the show. Hybrid Cloud This general-purpose term seems to provide a comfort zone for many enterprise IT managers. It sounds reassuring to be able to work with one of the major public-cloud providers like AWS or Microsoft Azure while still maintaining an on-site presence.