Fake SOA

I came across this article from Anne Thomas Manes. She is probably best known for her article on the death of SOA. The article has an interesting quote (emphasis added by myself):

Most organizations that I’ve spoken with are using service-oriented middleware to do integration (SOI rather than SOA). Very few companies are actually rearchitecting their systems, i.e., simplifying their applications and data architectures in order to increase agility.

Most if not all “SOA efforts” I have came across in the last couple of years suffer from the above. The prime focus is on integration technologies: use a service bus as integration middleware. It is no surprise that most ESB products have a EAI background and just reinvented themselves as an ESB.

The second interesting item in the article (emphasis added by myself):

Instead they are using WS-* or something similar to implement open interfaces to their existing applications (i.e., JABOWS). Over time, JABOWS typically results in increased architectural complexity and systems that are more fragile and more expensive than ever before. Although initially the initiative appears to be successful, the long term effect is actually a failure.

In a previous job I regularly questioned the abundant use of SOAP and WS-* to create a Service Oriented Architecture. JABOWS (Just A Bunch of Web Services) is definetely not the same as SOA and indeed often results in a far worse architecture. SOA is not so much about the technology realizing the interfaces, it’s about the services you define as part of an overall architecture.