SOA Will Be Used in Half of the Enterprise Applications Created in 2007
May 7, 2007 Timothy Prickett Morgan
According to research and analysis done by Gartner, the services oriented architecture (SOA) technique for creating composite enterprise applications is going to be all–well, to be more precise, more than half–the rage.
By Gartner’s reckoning, more than half of the new mission-critical “operational applications and business processes” that companies create in 2007 will be created using SOA techniques. And looking further out, Gartner believes that by 2010, more than 80 percent of these applications and processes created that year will use SOA techniques. But don’t think the transition to SOA is necessarily going to be a smooth one, even if it is inevitable.
“New software products for SOA have hit the market, but given their immaturity, have disappointed users in terms of reliability, performance, and productivity,” said Frank Kenney, a research director at Gartner. “SOA principles have been applied too rigidly, and this has led to unsatisfactory outcomes as projects became too costly and didn’t meet deadlines.”
Gartner is not saying SOA doesn’t work, and is of course interested in convincing the IT community that it knows how to do SOA right–just like everyone else who is looking at the software development problem these days. “Large numbers of successes have been reported, and no major conceptual flaw has been discovered in SOA,” Kenney explained. “Organizations should aggressively invest in SOA as it will rapidly become the architectural foundation for virtually every new business-critical application.”
SOA software development allows existing legacy applications, third-party software, and Web-based servers from third parties to be exposed as a collection of services and then woven together into new Web-based applications as companies see fit. Such an approach stands in stark contrast to ripping and replacing applications, which is too costly for most companies–especially the considering the large investments they made in their applications. Gartner correctly warns those diving into the deep end of the SOA pool that designing SOA applications takes a bit more care than monolithic and client/server applications of days gone by. There can be several layers of SOA middleware and testing, debugging, securing, and managing the composite applications is a bit tricky, too. If you are looking at an SOA project today, Gartner says that between now and the end of 2008, a large-scale SOA development project will only be economically justifiable for software that will be in use for three years or more because of the substantial upfront costs in deploying SOA-style applications at this time.
So, the rule for SOA deployment seems to be the same as with most new and potentially IT-altering technologies: start out small, develop standards and expertise, and move cautiously, building speed as you get comfortable.