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SOA Design Should Be "Intentional"

To get the broader benefits of service-oriented architecture—reuse, agility and runtime governance—companies need to design their SOAs deliberately. Ad hoc collections of services strung together end up creating the problems SOA was meant to solve, resulting in expensive, customized, IT-intensive point solutions that can’t be reused and aren’t based on a coherent platform from which to build composite applications.

So says Miko Matsumura, VP of marketing at Infravio, a provider of SOA Web services management products. Matsumura is the co-creator of The Middleware Company's SOA Blueprints, the first complete, vendor-neutral specification of an SOA application set, and he was the original Java Evangelist at Sun Microsystems.

Until recently, SOA has mostly been about point-to-point Web services integration, Matsumura tells AppTrends. But the industry has reached a tipping point; companies now want connections that create direction, coherence, or "intention.”

Matsumura's ideas on this issue have coalesced into a set of best practices he calls "Intentional SOA" and outlines in a white paper titled “Intentional SOA for Real-World SOA Builders.”

Intentional SOA is about ensuring the business value of SOA using best practices and principles, Matsumura explains. It raises key questions designed to help SOA builders stay on course during design and implementation, and it guides them beyond ad hoc Web Services enablement, mandating a strategic, enterprise-wide view that directly addresses the gamut of business, technology, security and governance concerns posed by SOA.

"In broad sense, this is about bringing order to chaos," Matsumura says.

Matsumura's white paper includes 10 questions designed to provide a starting point for organizations and SOA builders engaged in Intentional SOA. The questions are subdivided into what Matsumura considers the four "business value points" of SOA:

Reduce Integration Expense

1. How will you select standards for use in your enterprise?
2. How will you test to ensure that deployed services are compliant with those standards?

Increasing Asset Reuse

3. How many Web Services do you have in your company?
4. How will users discover available services and ensure reuse?
5. What IT processes will you need for versions, dependencies and change management of services?

Increase Business Agility

6. How do you manage provisioning and service level agreements for internal and external users?
7. How quickly can you integrate and on-ramp new customers to your IT systems?

Reduction of Business Risk

8. What types of users and usage will be permitted, and who will approve normal usage?
9. How do you track and enforce compliance with enterprise and regulatory standards?
10. Who will approve the publishing of a service internally? Externally?

The entire 37-page white paper is available from Infravio. More information is available at Infravio.

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at john@watersworks.com.

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