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SOA Manifesto and Benchmarks Sought

A collection of industry leaders from Oracle, Microsoft, IBM and various other companies met in September to draft a manifesto for SOA.  A manifesto is not an unusual notion when you consider that manifestos already exist for clouds and the internet. 

Steve Ross-Talbot’s blog shares his experience at the meeting where discussions never produced a consensus because of a split between “classic enterprise architects and guru-status technical architects.”  The leaders will meet again later this month to try and reconcile ideas about what an SOA must achieve.

In the next meeting, members will try to solidify agreement on SOA’s guiding principles and a clear definition of service-orientation.  Although some may think they know what consititutes service-oriented-architecture, Steve Ross-Talbot writes, “in my world I often have to deal with people who equate WS-* to SOA and equate ESB to SOA.  Which of course is not the case."

 SOA maturity pyramid
                                 SOA Maturity Pyramid

Case studies may be a used for reference at the meeting.  One case study by Cisco provides its own interpretation of service-orientation.  The report emphasizes that SOA services are business services.  Updating a customer quote would be a business service, but updating database records is not.

One other initiative that may have some influence on the SOA conference comes from the Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation (SPEC).  SPEC has recently formed a working group to create widely applicable benchmarks for middleware and database application performance in any SOA framework.

The benchmarks will be based on three parts of a SOA deployment:

  • Services on top of application servers using web services
  • Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) technologies
  • Business Process Execution Language (BPEL) integration technologies

Measuring performance has been a major issue with SOA.  SPEC’s challenge was to develop widely accepted benchmarks among vendors with varying interests.  Andrew Spyker, the chair of SPEC’s SOA performance group, emphasized the importance of satisfying both business and IT users.  “The benchmark needs allow for the ability to change implementation quickly - providing business users with quicker turnaround time on changes to IT as the business conditions change.  The implementation should also allow business services to be re-used in ways that make sense at a business level.” 

With the 2nd International SOA symposium set for October 23rd, a manifesto for SOA could be realized within the month.  Challenges lie ahead for gaining a broad consensus on what SOA’s defining principles should be, but the work of SPEC and Cisco should serve as a guide for industry leaders.  Both Cisco’s case study and SPEC’s benchmark’s have placed emphasis on business and IT service, software development lifecycles (SDLCs), and adaptability.

Do you think a strong SOA foundation is required for future business services-as-a-software?  What would you put in the SOA Manifesto?
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