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Business Transformation in Action

Joe McKendrick

The Frugal SOA

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We all want lots of business end-user enthusiasm and adoption of our SOA-enabled systems. But, sometimes, there can be too much of a good thing, and we may get more than what we bargained for.

In a new article posted here at ebizQ, Dave Chappell, SOA evangelist at Oracle, compares the efficiencies gained from "thinking green" to the efficiencies that can be applied through service oriented architecture. He observes that "at the superficial level, SOA is somewhat green because it encourages reuse of existing capabilities as services."

But behind reuse, Dave points to the issues that may bring many SOA-enabled systems to their knees -- all those sudden, and perhaps redundant, calls from service consumers that arise as the SOA takes off. "In some sense, a service consumer is naturally akin to a greedy consumer that hogs resources of backend systems and drives
traffic through them grinding the CRM, finance applications, legacy systems and databases to the edge," Dave relates.

This has been a compelling question that has dogged enterprises since Web services first came on the scene -- are our systems ready for such unpredictable loads? Dave has been a staunch advocate of a "grid" approach to supporting SOAs. I heard him talk to some detail about the SOA grid at the recent SOA Symposium in Amsterdam, where he proposed organizations move in the direction of supporting an "elastic compute grid environment" to cut through the scalability bottlenecks that SOA inevitably creates.

Dave points to issues that arise when consumers are pounding the infrastructure: multiple calls to legacy systems; hitting back-end data stores with constantly updating state information; and multiple read/write interactions with services. Dave says these wasteful drags on system and SOA resources can be addressed with "a mid-tier data caching/grid solution that enables you to save on service invocations by caching results, allowing you to manage state in the mid-tier in a scalable way."

In this blog (formerly known as "SOA in Action"), Joe McKendrick examines how BPM and related business and IT approaches can promote business transformation.

Joe McKendrick

Joe McKendrick is an author and independent analyst who tracks the impact of information technology on management and markets. View more

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