David’s blog

Posted on: January 8, 2009

SOA Schmoa 2.0?

I was intrigued to read Anne Thomas Manes SOA obituary several people pointed me to it, often with some comment along the lines of “SOA, Schmoa”.  Some of you may know of my (in)famous slide by that name that I used at Gartner’s Application Integration and Web Services summit in the fall of 2004.  It was often interpreted to mean that I was declaring SOA dead or something like it.  Reactions at the time ranged from thanks to astonishment that I dared to challenge the IT religion (mostly the latter).

What most people never really understood (I probably didn’t explain it well I guess) was that I was claiming that the term SOA was being used and abused by vendors, analysts, press, and IT to justify complex, highfalutin approaches and that it was being used to fill a void left by Web services.  At the time, people were coming to grips with WS, and therefore the confusion was starting to wane (this was before WS lost its way and became the complex monster that it is today).  I said that SOA was rising to the occasion to become the industry ‘hot air’ balloon, replacing WS.

To this day, the term SOA is used in many ways. Some intentionally, some not.  The biggest difference is between those that embrace a purist view (Gartner’s definition, which states that SOA has certain principles, etc. and can include simpler implementations such as WOA/REST), and the majority who view SOA as “enterprise class complex SOA”, used for systematic projects.

I cant claim to know exactly what Anne meant but I believe that if she meant that it is the “boil the ocean” overblown enterprise SOA that is dead, (along with other overengineered, high end solutions like enterprise class storage), then I would tend to agree.  But it really has nothing to do with whatever SOA means or not.

SOA Schmoa. True today as well.

If you deal with pricing, or for that matter, marketing or sales in general, and you’re going to read one related book this year, read Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions, by Dan Ariely. (I mentioned an article by him in a previous post on the impact of transparent pricing for CDNs, and I’ve finally had time to read his book.)

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