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SOAserviceintegrationhype curvehype 4 Dec 2007 12:04 PM
Along the Hype Curve by kvandersluis

I just read Matt Asay's blog post about OSS Adoption, as viewed by Gartner ("Gartner underhypes open source" - ). Since I'm attending Gartner's Application Architecture, Development & Integration Summit in Las Vegas, NV this week, I'm getting to see a lot of these presentations first-hand. I'm specifically interested in their hype curve for SOA - unlike OSS adoption, which Gartner underestimates - it seems to me like they are too ahead of themselves...

Many of you are familiar with the Gartner "hype curve", which describes how technology adoption shows early promise, is over-hyped by vendors, followed by resistance from companies as credibility is lost, tossing the technology into a "trough of disillusionment". Once the hype tones down and a common understanding of the real value of the technology is revealed, the technology gains traction in the mainstream. Gartner now feels that SOA as a technology has emerged from the trough of disillusionment and is ready for the mainstream.

In the last year, I have had many customers talking about SOA, but only one major customer actually implementing it. For most, SOA remains in the trough of disillusionment. And I don't think this is because developers and IT decision makers don't understand the value of SOA, or aren't ready to realize these benefits. I think most enterprises are missing the first step towards making SOA a reality: you've got to unlock the data. Our recent SOA customer echoed this back to us. When asked why they selected XAware, they simply stated, "XAware gets data". The dual meaning of this tag line explains a lot: exposing and rationalizing data is a key first step to enabling an SOA. And of course, using a tool optimized for data services provides the foundation for your SOA.

Without access to data in all its various sources (legacy systems, databases, files, custom sources), and without the ability to manage this data with reusable services to transport it to all your different middleware technologies (ESB's, BPEL engines, etc.), then SOA will never move beyond the marketing fluff category, or as Gartner calls it, stuck in the trough of disillusionment.

The XAware project is helping many developers make SOA a reality. On, you won't see many references to "building services", but you will see many discussions of XML views ("BizView" in XAware parlance). An XML view carries all the characteristics of a properly defined service for an SOA: it decouples the consuming application from the physical data sources, is information-rich, coarse-grained, meta-data driven, and can be invoked asynchronously. So, whether you're using XAware to help build an SOA, or simply finding it easy to access data or integrate applications using XAware, you are actually implementing technology that will reap the benefits of SOA - resusable data services that make your environment more agile. Unlock the data first, and then Gartner's prediction that SOA will turn mainstream becomes that much more likely to happen.

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