Sun's Pragmatic Path to SOA

The watchword of Sun Microsystems' new specialized service-oriented architecture practice is pragmatism.

"This whole SOA thing is going to be a journey," says Ashesh Badani, Sun's group marketing manager for SOA. "You just can’t get it overnight. Along the way, you want to adopt sensible development practices. You want to focus on business challenges. And you want to bring legacy applications into the SOA--this isn't a rip-and-replace process. That's what we call a pragmatic view."

The new practice, called SOA Path, will offer four SOA services: SOA Jumpstart Workshop, a program to assist customers as they execute an SOA; SOA Opportunity Assessment, an analysis of key business processes and enterprise architecture alignment; SOA Proof of Concept, for identifying and evaluating key candidate projects; and SOA Center of Excellence, which Sun calls "a focal point for reinforcing and promoting SOA recommended principles and reuse of current processes, procedures, frameworks, standards and compliance.

Sun isn't the first vendor to offer SOA services. Both IBM and BEA Systems offered much-publicized SOA support and services earlier this year. But Sun doesn't think of itself as coming late to the SOA party.

"What we are late to is vendor hype," says Badani. "And we’re glad about that."

What sets Sun's offering apart, Badani says, is its educational approach. "Other vendors come in and set everything up for you, and never leave," he says. "But for us, this is about teaching these guys to fish, rather than coming in and doing the fishing for them."

The practice won't involve long-term customer engagements, says Badani, but briefer, less invasive interactions. The Jumpstart Workshop, for example, is a two- to four-day, lightweight, onsite session designed to help customers define their "SOA opportunities" and establish some starter projects.

"Our purpose is not to come into an enterprise and stay forever," Badani says. "We want to automate as much as possible and provide best practices, and then get out of your way."

SOA Path focuses on products and services that support Sun's Java Enterprise System platform, and are based on SOA and Web services standards running on the Solaris 10 operating system. The JES includes the Java System Application Platform Suite, a solution designed to address the use of Web services components to integrate disparate enterprise systems; the Java Web Infrastructure Suite, a quick-start approach to Web services; and the Java Identity Management Suite, a set of ID management products.

Sun’s developer tools—Java Studio Enterprise 7 and Sun Java Studio Creator—are also part of the package.

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About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at [email protected].