Enterprise SOA by the end of the decade

by Jim Alateras

Several weeks ago I listened to a presentation by Geoffrey Moore titled

Orchestrating the Stack
, which paints a picture of enterprise
computing in the year 2010. For those who haven't heard of
Geoffrey Moore he is best known as the author of Crossing the Chasm,
Inside the Tornado and Living on the Fault Line, which cover product
development and marketing strategies for high tech companies.

By the end of the decade the Internet will be become the global enterprise service bus and Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) will be the dominant architecture used to build enterprise applications. Although we are no where near a tipping point many early indicators (i.e standardization of the web services stack) seem to support this position.

To reach the early majority we must cross the chasm, which means we need to understand how to build scalable and performant SOAs and develop tools and methodologies to help build, test and deploy these
applications. Fortunately, companies like Amazon, Google and eBay are
doing some great work in the area of non-critical services but we also need some real success stories in enterprise scale, mission critical services.

This entry by Jeff Schneider also indicates that many organizations are allocating resources to develop enterprise wide SOA strategy. These organizations are developing reference architectures and initiating small, low-risk SOA projects.

I think that Geoffrey Moore's time frame is on money. During the next 18-24 months the smart organization will be developing strategies and capabilities to build, deploy and manage these SOA-based enterprise applications.


2005-05-02 07:35:00
URL correction
Here is the correct
link to Jeff's blog entry.


2005-05-02 07:37:11
Another URL correction
That was closer. Here is one more try at that link.
2005-05-05 09:05:43
I'd be cautious
about taking "standardization of the web services stack" as any kind of early indicator of what's to come. Despite the best efforts of lots of people, standardization still doesn't seem to have led to the kind of easy interoperability that makes this cheap enough to become ubiquitous.

I'd like to hear more indicators supporting this before making any predictions about what we'll see at the end of the decade.

2005-05-06 06:25:45
The SOA integration layer will be the new system of record
As Jim says Geoffrey Moore paints an interesting view of where the industry is going. What I find interesting is that while Geoffrey Moore talks about ‘orchestrating’ the stack he doesn’t regard this integration capability as a layer in the same way as Databases or Application Servers are layers in their own right.

I think that this view is missing a fundamental shift in technology world. As more and more business processes and business data flow between many applications, it is the integration layer that increasingly controls the business and delivers value and not the application silos. Over time it will become apparent that the application silos are not the only holder of primary business information (A system of record in Moore’s terminology) and there will be growing recognition that the real value is moving more and more into the integration layer itself.

The increasing business requirement for integration is what has driven SOA and the Web Services stack. Unfortunately, many people talk about Service Oriented Architecture but focus almost exclusively on service definition as the only problem: The definition is often the easiest part – the big problem is how to link these services together to actually achieve the business goal. This is a vastly complicated task – potentially requiring sophisticated middleware capable of mapping or mediating between the many different data and process perspectives of each application. We use the term mediation to capture what this is about – and I suggest that it is probably 80% of the effort in any large scale SOA project. (I discuss this in a little more detail at http://www.looselycoupled.com/opinion/2004/bradl-save-infr1206.html#content)

In the next couple of years, we may well see the emergence of a new System of Record: The mediation layer. The increasing activity of the gorilla's around the SOA/Enterprise Service Bus concepts suggests that they realize that this is underway. It is much more than orchestrating the stack!