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Untitled Document


Introduction



Walking through the IKEA store a few weeks back I noticed a poster highlighting IKEA's green credentials and the trio: "Reduce, Reuse and Recycle." I started thinking, as any SOA practitioner should, about the implications of the green movement and its parallels in how we build SOA solutions. Some of the reasons that we see customers adopt SOA include: interoperability, ease of development and maintenance, visibility, and, of course, reuse. At the superficial level, SOA is somewhat green because it encourages reuse of existing capabilities as services. What about recycling? And what about reducing waste and inefficiencies? Reducing the impact on the surrounding environment and systems?

A successful SOA project usually results in driving more traffic to backend systems that will need to be scaled out, taking more hardware resources not less. 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 -- a re-incarnation of the free-rider problem if you like.

So where does the wastefulness come from in SOA, and what can be done to manage it?

As with the green movement in general, the solution boils down to being a responsible consumer. We are all being taught to be more conscious about consumption every day in the real world. In the case of SOA the things that are being consumed are backend capabilities that provide services Just because you can call a service a hundred times doesn't mean you should. Conversely just because a specific service consumer calls your service a hundred times only for you to return the same result, it doesn't mean that you should do the same amount of work for each service call. What is beautiful about the solution that we talk about here is that it results in reducing the operational risk associated with doing SOA in addition to taking out the waste!


Reduce: Where do the inefficiencies come from?

If a service consumer is being wasteful, then the obvious question is where? As you look into the way that applications are built in a SOA environment, you start to see. We recently looked at a wireless telco's Web portal where customers can view, print, pay and add additional service to their account. This system is linked to billing, CRM, provisioning and legacy systems. Although the application was built using SOA principles, what we noticed was that during the typical customer interaction, the billing system in particular was called an average of 3 times. This is a big deal.

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