Putting SOA in a Practical Context

I was looking at some of our download statistics and was pleasantly surprised to see that one of my favorite whitepapers, Practical SOA for the Solution Architect, is also on its way to becoming our most downloaded paper.  As of this writing it still trails our eBay case study, which is another of my favorites, but Practical SOA is quickly working its way up the leaderboard.

I mentioned this to Ganesh Prasad, the author of the paper, who has a long and broad experience as an architect.  Why is this paper so popular?  Here’s what Ganesh said:

“I think the paper has struck a chord because it addresses a long-felt need. Solution Architects have been bombarded with information about SOA for years, but a lot of it is theoretical and not something they can readily put to work. The SOA education provided by vendors is more practical, but it often turns out to be self-serving because it’s meant to sell products and not necessarily to make practitioners more effective at SOA. That’s borne out by the number of ESB-based solutions out there that are tightly coupled. So again, Solution Architects are left feeling a bit short-changed because they aren’t being given a practical methodology for SOA that they can apply to their work.

“Perhaps this paper, authored by a fellow architect who has been in the same situation, addresses SOA from exactly the angle that Solution Architects want to see it addressed. They finally have an answer to their longstanding demand, ‘Give me a dead simple and practical method of applying SOA principles to my solution designs.’”

I think that’s true.  SOA has gone through a pretty wild hype cycle in the past, and the straightforward application of loose-coupling principles has sometimes suffered.  But all through that hype cycle SOA was quietly proving itself as an effective approach when thoughtfully and consistently applied.

As shiny new targets emerge for industry hype-meisters (cough – CLOUD – cough) now is a good time to organize and filter the useful legacy of SOA into a practical, cohesive, methodology.  Now is a good time to recognize that SOA has established its place in modern enterprise solutions.  If you haven’t read the paper yet, I’d encourage you to download it now!

Read more of Ganesh’s thoughts and advice at his blog: The Wisdom of Ganesh.

Disclosure: WSO2 has engaged Ganesh to create educational materials and participate in events around the topics of SOA, enterprise integration, and applying WSO2 technologies.  Given the favorable reception of this first whitepaper, I’m sure many will be waiting to see more!

Jonathan Marsh, VP Business Development and Product Design
Jonathan’s blog: http://jonathanmarsh.net/blog