Is SOA really dead?

The people that are burying SOA today are often the same who promoted it a few years ago

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But does the data service approach help address the terminal diagnosis for SOA? Yes!

Data services are a service-oriented pattern independent of technology.

Certainly there are standards such as service data objects and technologies such as data service platforms that offer value, but the key point is that a focus on the pattern of applying service-orientation to the problem of access, integrating, and consuming data can yield significant value regardless of implementation technology. For those who do seek technology to help construct data services, look for solutions that support multiple service-orientation “styles” – web services, REST, mashups, etc. Several exist.

Data services sit at the heart of an architecture

Adopting data services gets to the heart of Manes’s call to return to focusing on architecture and not technology. Data services offer an important transformational architectural pattern to solve critical business problems such as data integration and data quality.

Data services offer significant levels of reuse

Adopting data services offers real opportunity for long-term cost savings from reuse due to the more fundamental nature of data. Maximising reuse, of course, means spending time modeling your data in ways that anticipate reuse across applications and domains, but the effort will be returned multiple times over in the long-term.

Consider that many organisations have existing domain-focused data models that were never implemented or acted on. These models can immediately bootstrap a data services effort. And don’t forget to think about data services reuse at varying levels from fine-grained to coarse grained. Don’t fall for the same trap as before and focus just on data service reuse at the business service or integration boundary.

Manes concludes: “Incremental integration projects will not lead to significantly reduced costs and increased agility. If you want spectacular gains, then you need to make spectacular commitment to change.”

Service-oriented success depends on our renewed commitment to architecture and data services offer a vehicle for that commitment. SOA as integration veneer is dead! Long live SOA as architecture and data services as a fundamental mechanism for applying service-orientation to critical business problems.

Brad Wright is a senior product marketing manager for DataDirect Technologies, a comprehensive provider of software for connecting disparate crucial business applications to data and services. He can be reached at [email protected]

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