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It's really interesting to read various people's opinions, findings and experiences about service-oriented architecture (SOA) and cloud computing coming from a background in distributed computing. Effectively, for me, these universes break down into two camps: the "Newbies" and the "Gray Hairs." The reasons leading to these abstractions is partially to be comical, but also partially due the way these communities express themselves with regard to SOA and cloud computing. Most importantly, neither of these classifications are indicative that either group is inherently correct or incorrect in their assessments and/or statements.


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Let's start by analyzing the Newbies. Newbies have a ton of energy and passion that they bring to the topic matter. They may or may not have real world experiences in working with the corresponding topic, but their perspectives are driven by an honest attempt to learn and grow quickly. Some Newbies will make assertions that are categorically incorrect, but more so as a means of scientific study than an attempt to be arrogant...sometimes. The biggest issue with Newbies is that their writings and assertions are missing the historic perspective that is reserved for those that have been an active participant in the information technology industry since the early 1990s.

"Gray Hairs" are exactly what you'd expect them to be -- experienced individuals that have been there, done that and got the button-down, long-sleeved, logo-over-the-left-pocket shirt to prove it. Many of these individuals do not participate actively in forums where information is openly shared on these topics, but occassionally, you will see a well-thought-out article from one of them indicating the missed issues, unaccounted for logic and other misguided beliefs. In general, the Gray Hairs are skeptics and cynics, but with good reason; most of what we see surrounding SOA and the cloud are not new.

Somewhere between these two groups is a truth -- one I hope this writing brings to light.

With regard to SOA, the Newbie group tends to be comprised of developers, while Gray Hairs is comprised of architects and IT management. The clash here is obvious. The Gray Hairs have lived through implementing systems using DCE, Object-Oriented, Client/Server, Component Based Development, CORBA and EAI (brokers). It is hardly likely they will be easily convinced something called an architecture but spoken of like technology is going to deliver what these other similar initiatives could not.

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