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Is It Even Possible for a Company to Walk Away From Service Orientation?

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Joe McKendrick: Has there ever been a case of SOA being abandoned?  Is it even possible for a company to walk away from service orientation?

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  • Services come and go like anything else. I've seen Web Services rewritten and old Services become legacy :) However, the big issue is that when you create a service that say then, 100's of other services or applications depend on, it gets pretty tricky to abandon it. What often happens is that services are copied and then modified. Services create just as much as a legacy nightmare as any other piece of old unless it's managed properly.

    This is really why I've always said SOA is a strategy, little different from previous technical strategies. Do it right, like anything and all will be good.

  • Names keep changing, but the techniques stay. I am a strong believer of the fact we should separate elementary tasks from business processes to increase flexibility, Just wrote a blog entry on the subject. If you are interested, you can find it at http://bit.ly/bH0Hup

  • Well, peole can do this but no company can. If it does so, it disappears as a company: market is a service-oriented thing. If the company is not for profit - it is for service... to others.

  • Change is inevitable, although progress may not be. But to walk away from anything, you must walk towards something. It is part of the human condition that we want to turn away from pain and move toward pleasure. Think about your reaction to putting your hand on a hot stove or hearing pleasant music in the distance. So it is the case when we build systems.

    Service-oriented architecture (SOA) was a more pleasurable solution to the previous pains of tightly coupling systems together through data or functional abstractions. The practitioners of that time live through the pains of trying to extend those monolithic monsters. It was, no is, an awful experience. We all ran as fast as we could away from it towards the first viable less painful alternative - SOA.

    So migrating (moving) from one place to another is always possible and our success in doing so is exponentially proportional to the pleasure pain difference. However, that isn't the real issue, is it? The better question to address is, "What orientation would one move to, if you desired to move off of SOA?"

  • It's most likely that most companies would walk away from SOA at the Enterprise level (if they haven't done so yet) at least for as long as IT is in charge of it, since SOA is firstly about business services definition and architecture (and secondarily about integration) about which IT has little expertise and no responsibility.
    SOA does well at the application level though.
    So if the scope of the question was the Enterprise, I would say most companies walked away. If the scope was an application or the Web yes SOA is the way forward.

    That being said, with Cloud Computing (SaaS) adoption, SOA will shape the Enterprise of the future since SOA facilitates Cloud services.
    Adrian at http://it.toolbox.com/blogs/ea-matters/

  • In the research that led to her proclamation that "SOA is Dead: Long Live Services," Burton Group's Anne Thomas Manes found that many companies enthusiastically embrace SOA when the effort is first initiated, but usually after about two years, enthusiasm has waned. I don't think there are many cases where a company has walked away from service oriented architecture, but there are instances when developers and operations teams slip into their old ways, of building and deploying apps or systems that duplicate what already exists. This is where good management and good governance -- reinforced by culture and incentives -- keep the juices flowing.

  • Joe’s reference to Anne is an interesting coincidence; a couple of days ago I had a
    discussion with Anne on that topic and her new presentation about the “Reincarnation of SOA? at the SOA Forum 2010 in Zurich.

    I see a clear consensus that this is all about Architecture and not about products, protocols or specific implementations. The advent of the Cloud only reinforces this architecture and renders it a must for cost effective software that is to survive the constant cost reductions and transition to the Cloud (I just published “How to survive the dark side of Cloud Computing? in this context).

    So coming back to the question, let me respond with an analogy. You can choose to
    be a city dweller and work in IT, or become an autarchic farmer and live off the
    land. If you choose the former, you will have to use cellphones and emails and
    other tools of the trade – but you could do away with these if you choose the
    latter. I consider that a service oriented architecture in modern IT has a
    similar place as emails and cellphones have in the modern workplace.

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