App Servers’ Performance Play Key Role in SOA

Interest is reaching an all-time high for service-oriented architecture, and application and integration servers will play a pivotal role in SOAs, according to a recent study by The Yankee Group.

SOA is an enterprise architecture that includes layers for technology, applications, services and process—and a lot of enterprise architecture—is embraced by application and integration vendors, according to Tom Dwyer, an analyst at The Yankee Group. “Most of these folks are well versed in enterprise architecture; they understand the design goals of service-oriented architecture, and provide professional services to enable prospective buyers to design environments around SOA.”

Application servers and application integration tiers in distributed computing and SOA environments are important aspects for supporting and relating application assets, according to The Yankee Group’s survey, “Application Server and Integration Vary Widen in User Perceptions of Business Value and Total Cost.”

Respondents reported their investments in application servers and integration capabilities markedly helped their businesses support customers, combine internal business functions, collaborate with partners and suppliers, reduce overall operating costs, and increase employee productivity and revenue.

SOA’s popularity is related to its ability to tackle many issues enterprises are facing as they try to rein in IT costs and gain new productivity benefits from past, current and future IT investments, The Yankee Group says. Enterprises are also vying to service-enable past and future IT assets to increase reuse of application logic, use infrastructure services across more applications, and make sharing business intelligence faster and cheaper.

A goal of a SOA approach toward applications and services is to reduce stack redundancies, make higher-level interoperability pursuits easier, and exploit shared infrastructure to scale with security. It would save money by transforming older ways to organize business logic and data into more flexible and efficient processes.

The Yankee Group says BEA Systems’ WebLogic scored the highest in performance for application and integration servers, followed by IBM WebSphere. Respondents classified both of these offerings in the category for the highest total costs. Microsoft BizTalk performed well with external partner and supplier collaboration and customer service, while Oracle got high marks for improving business value across all business integration objectives.

Survey respondents included 401 enterprises that featured 842 implementations in a variety of industries in the U.S., including manufacturing, financial services, healthcare, retail, banking and government. Firms ranged from fewer than 500 employees worldwide to more than 20,000; their revenue ranged from less than $25 million annually to more than $10 billion.

About the Author

Kathleen Ohlson is senior editor at Application Development Trends magazine.