SOA's not dead says Burton

The Lazarus effect - two years after obituary written

SOA is set for a comeback according to analyst company, Burton. Nearly two years ago, it was a Burton analyst, Anne Thomas Manes, who proclaimed that SOA was dead but it appears that reports of its demise have been exaggerated.

In her original report, Thomas Manes said SOA had died because its proponents had failed to demonstrate real benefits.

But there's a different climate now. There a several reasons for its comeback said Chris Howard, vice president and service director with Burton (now part of the Gartner Group) in a new report, The Lazarus Effect: SOA returns.

Howard's thesis is that there is a still a need for SOA but it had been sidelined as a technical issue and that IT had failed to sell SOA as a transforming methodology,. He said that companies would need to stop talking about SOA as a technology but in terms of a business case. "Technologists must recast SOA as an architectural approach rather than a technology-first solution ... Service oriented environments require a higher level of abstraction in design, which must be decoupled from the underlying technology," he wrote.

SOA projects failed because there was too much concentration on the technology and because, in the financial climate of the past few years, major transformational projects were canned but that's set to change again, said Howard. In particular, the emergence of cloud computing is set to lead to a new boost for SOA. "To achieve the goals of a hybrid data center with processes spanning the internal/external boundary, service orientation is a prerequisite. This doesn't mean that sophisticated services and mature SOA must already exist before an enterprise can venture into the cloud, but rather that architecture strategies that involve cloud computing must have a service orientation foundation," he wrote.

Since Thomas Manes' obituary of SOA, there have been other changes afoot. Several vendors bandied together to produce the SOA Manifesto, addressing many of the concerns raised by the Burton analyst

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