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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.)

Posted on: January 8, 2009

SOA Schmoa 2.0?

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http://apsblog.burtongroup.com/ 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.

A Tale of Two Clouds

Think that the hype around Cloud computing might generate some kind of consensus? Think again. Reading blogs and listening to enterprises and vendors have led me to the following conclusion: The term cloud computing has come to mean two apparently very different things:

1.    The ‘cloud’ as an internet/web/saas originated idea, with credit largely given to Eric Schmidt for the term. It is a global class phenomenon and is a high level concept that includes much. The focus is more on ‘cloud’ than ‘computing’.  Gartner’s definition ( “a style of computing where massively scalable IT-enabled capabilities are delivered ‘as a service’ to external customers using Internet technologies.” ) is along these lines.  Frank Gillette at Forrester defines it similarly: http://www.forrester.com/Research/Document/Excerpt/0,7211,45073,00.html

2.    An application of technologies including virtualization and automation which focus more on the “computing” than on the “cloud” aspect with emphasis being placed on the technologies that enable the creation and delivery of service-based capabilities. This is a more narrow view that also applies more to traditional enterprise approaches. GigaOM disagrees with Forrester and subscribes to the virtualization view: http://gigaom.com/2008/09/05/forrester-defines-the-cloud-but-we-beg-to-differ/.  At Gartner, we don’t consider these technologies and offerings to be “cloud computing” in its entirety. Many vendors and media subscribe to this limited view of cloud computing, which relates to cloud system infrastructure only.

.

As usual, when a term can have multiple meanings, confusion abounds.  The problems become most evident when discussing ‘internal clouds’.  Does this term mean the application of cloud (eg global class) characteristics internally? Or does it mean virtualization and its evolution?  These arguments can lead to some much testier disagreements http://groups.google.com/group/cloud-computing/browse_thread/thread/42b3784a39af2707/5b2f42537b17b1fd?pli=1 than the relatively tame disagreement by GigaOM.

There is some connection between the two perspectives.  The connection is that virtualization (of some sort, not necessarily virtual machines) is a way to implement the underlying infrastructure in the cloud.

Both views are valid. A key to getting through the confusion is to recognize when the term is being used to mean a broad concept and when is being used to mean a more focused system infrastructure view.

Cloud and virtualization are not the same as my colleague Tom Bittman writes http://blogs.gartner.com/thomas_bittman/2008/09/22/virtualization-30/.  While virtualization doesn’t mean you have a cloud, it doesn’t mean you don’t have one either.  Other factors, such as whether a services model is employed is more important.

What do you think?

Stay tuned for more. Something tells me we haven’t heard the last of this…

Stay tuned for more. Something tells me we haven’t heard the last of this…

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