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New trends and technologies are emerging and converging to create exciting opportunities for enterprise IT and business stakeholders. In this article, I will discuss Service Oriented Architecture (SOA), Ajax and other emerging trends and how they all play a role together in crafting the next generation enterprise.



SOA Today

SOA is an overarching architectural philosophy that has gained widespread adoption in the enterprise by helping enterprise IT to quickly respond to the agile needs of the business. The SOA scenario is broad with many vendors and standards. The concepts behind SOA are not really new and we frequently compare and contrast SOA with prior efforts at distributed computing such as CORBA and DCOM. The key difference between CORBA and current SOA is the ubiquity of adoption of Web services standards (collectively referred to as WS-*). One of the biggest problems with CORBA was that we couldn’t get IIOP across the firewall, since the only ports that IT opened for external users were for the ubiquitous HTTP/HTTPS. Table 1 shows a brief comparison of past and current integration/SOA approaches.

Table 1: Comparison of past and current SOA approaches

Benefits of SOA

SOA brings together the two major enterprise stakeholders: IT and the business unit. IT is responsible for designing, implementing and deploying the IT infrastructure and applications, while the business unit is responsible for delivering value to its customers and end users. This alignment is key to making SOA successful in an enterprise and is a major reason for the higher levels of acceptance for SOA versus earlier approaches.

Enterprises traditionally placed IT assets into silos (applications, databases, legacy systems, etc.). But with SOA, enterprises are beginning to realize the true benefits of reuse because SOA leverages current IT assets and advocates a wrap and reuse strategy. This liberates the enterprise IT infrastructure from silo-orientation to become more service-oriented in nature. It helps the enterprise foster service reuse across the company and also enables exposing services for easier integration and partner enablement.

Emerging Trends in Enterprise Software

Rich Internet Applications and Ajax

Ever since Jesse James Garrett coined the term Ajax in early 2005, it has spread like wildfire. Many were developing Ajax-based technology and solutions long before it was termed Ajax. Lucky for us, the term stuck and we now know what to call it. And, lucky for the industry, Google was bold enough to use and deploy Ajax-based Google Maps and GMail, igniting industry interest in the potential of Ajax. As enterprises experiment with the technology, users have noticed and are now demanding more richness from enterprise Web applications. This is creating considerable pressure on the enterprise to create new RIAs and to modernize existing Web applications with RIA technology, most notably Ajax.

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