As companies move forward in their efforts to modernize and extract value from their legacy code base through new SOA initiatives, they will be faced with many challenges, not the least of which is understanding which applications and platforms exist and how they can be decoupled and reassembled into a new dynamic and coherent whole.
A well-articulated asset management strategy provides the framework for organizations to closely monitor their migration path, to communicate ideas on new and existing web services and to guarantee that both enhancements and new services are delivered in response to real organizational needs. With an asset management strategy and efficient supporting tools in place, companies will be able to manage web services in a consistent manner such that they can be optimally used by the organization, thus solidifying their SOA investments to ensure future success.
SOA is not a technology in and of itself, nor is it new to the industry. Rather, it is an evolution that mirrors older, loosely coupled distributed computing architectures such as CORBA and incorporates newer web based concepts such as XML, SOAP and WSDL. All of these technologies and concepts combine to provide a solution to the problem of wide scale integration of services within a technologically heterogeneous environment.
Software asset management is the process of making software lifecycle artifacts readily understandable and available to be reused within a project or across an organization. To help accomplish this, descriptive metadata is attached to artifacts such as Web services, components, architectures and documents to transform them into assets, which will facilitate their discovery and use in future projects.
By using asset management software to catalog SOA derived assets, developers and managers alike are able to track relevant assets, including where they are being used, by whom and on which projects. A good Asset Management strategy and supporting tool can therefore help make SOA related materials available and understandable throughout the organization.
The most significant motivating factors for companies to implement service-oriented architectures (SOA) are interoperability and a desire for increased agility. SOA and Web services promise to help companies bridge existing technology silos and integrate existing software assets, creating a new, loosely coupled, IT infrastructure. SOA also promises to allow companies to transform existing legacy applications and better align IT capabilities with changes to business needs and processes.