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Business Ecology Initiative & Service-Oriented Solution

Michael Poulin

OASIS has released the 3rd Draft of Reference Architecture Foundation for SOA for the Public Review

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Today, OASIS SOA Reference Model TC has released the 3rd Public Review Draft of Reference Architecture Foundation for SOA Version 1.0 (SOA RAF). This is the long-time expected standard-draft, which has been recognised by OMG and The Open Group Standard Bodies as the foundation of modern understanding of service-oriented architecture.

This 3rd Draft incorporates a lot of new work and re-work of previous Draft. Particularly, the architectural viewpoints addressed by the SOA RAF have been re-shuffled and now include:

• Participation in a SOA Ecosystem Viewpoint,
• Realisation of a SOA Ecosystem Viewpoint,
• Ownership in a SOA Ecosystem Viewpoint.

The Introduction, Architectural Goal and Principles and Participation in a SOA Ecosystem Viewpoint were heavily edited as well as Management Model has been extended.

Overall, the SOA RAF in this version tries to keep a balance between Business and Technical aspects of service-oriented architecture. Business domain appears now in the core concept of service and in the new concept of SOA ecosystem. The latter includes all interactions with services, intangible aspects of motivation and reasoning of the service invocation and the social structure where the services operate. SOA ecosystem "occupies the area between business and IT. It is neither wholly IT nor wholly business, but is of 4 both worlds. Neither business nor IT completely own, govern and manage this SOA ecosystem. Both sets 5 of concerns must be accommodated for the SOA ecosystem to fulfill its purposes".

The SOA RAF introduces a few new characteristics such as private and shared RWE, implicit and explicit Service Contract, and defines elements of the Service Description necessary to help the consumer to make a decision about the use of particular service. Unfortunately, even this version of SOA RAF is not free from some confusion.

For example, the standard-draft uses expressions like "service-oriented business collaboration" which is a tautology because business collaboration, which is non-service oriented, does not exist. Another one - an illustration of choreography - shows coupling of internal business processes in different enterprises that is a business nonsense repeated after WS-CDL.

Special place in the SOA RAF is occupied by the Ownership in a SOA Ecosystem Viewpoint. It outlines that services are not only independent entities but they belong or may belong to different authorities and ownerships. This means that traditional perception that IT owns services and can manipulates them in the way technologists want is not justifiable anymore. This corresponds with the view on services as entities that situate in Business and extended into IT and no other way around; business ownership boundaries are the de facto rule of SOA ecosystem. Architects and managers have to understand that the service of my service may be not my service and that contractual relationships are the only ones allowed in the SOA ecosystem.

In this short post I certainly could not cover an iota of the SOA RAF. You have 60 days to read the document and send your comments and notes to the SOA RAF TC.


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In this blog, Michael Poulin writes about business and technology ideas, concepts, methodologies and solutions leading to service-oriented enterprise, the primary instrument for obtaining business objectives in fast-changing environments.

Michael Poulin

Michael Poulin is an enterprise-level solution architect working in the financial industry in the U.K. and the United States.

He specializes in building bridges between business needs and technology capabilities with emphasis on business and technical efficiency, scalability, robustness and manageability. He writes about service orientation, application security and use of modern technologies for solving business problems. He contributes to OASIS SOA standards as an independent member and is listed in the the international "Who's Who of Information Technology" for 2001. View more


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