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SOAWorldSOA 3 Dec 2008 2:40 PM
SOAWorld 2008 by kvandersluis

This fall’s version of SOAWorld ran November 19-21.  I attended all three days, and presented a session on creating and managing data services for both SOA and RIA environments.  The show was a combined conference that also included the named conferences Cloud Computing World, Virtualization World, and Data Services World.  David Linthicum gave the keynote address on Wednesday, with a theme of “its time to make something work”.  The hype is officially over, with 53% of companies now having SOA up and running.  As an industry, we’ve proven SOA works if you approach it right.  He reiterated several concepts he’s conveyed in the past, such as “SOA is something you do, you can’t just buy it”, and “understanding your data is key to success”, and “data is the foundation of SOA”.  Architects should apply a layered approach to data, with an abstraction layer over the raw data sources, and services then binding into the abstraction layer.  David spent a good portion of his presentation outlining a full SOA process that he helps clients implement.  To summarize, if you follow the right process, SOA works.


Some other interesting thoughts and ideas from the show

Paul Lipton from CSC warned about ensuring governance is in place fairly early in an SOA initiative.  Once your services are reused, you risk becoming a support group, so you need to implement a plan for reuse and support.


Michael at Active Endpoints had an interesting presentation on Complex Event Processing, which I wrote about here .


Werner Vogels, CTO at Amazon, gave the Day 2 keynote.  He spoke about Amazon’s cloud infrastructure for both storage and processing capabilities, and noted that many startups are using these services to gain scalability for very little investment.  He likened the cloud infrastructure business like early 20th century Belgium brewing companies.  At that time, each brewery had its own power plant.  Power companies centralized this infrastructure, freeing brewers to concentrate on their core business.  Computing infrastructure seems to be following the same path.  Vogels also revealed Amazon’s deep adoption of service orientation, noting that a typical web page on involves the invocation of 200-300 services to build the page.


Dr. Michael Carey, who formerly led much of the development for BEA’s Aqua Logic, described some of the major design concepts in Aqua Logic, which map fairly closely to the capabilities of XAware.  One  primary goal of Aqua Logic is to create a data abstraction layer, and expose data, wherever it resides physically, as “entity” services.  Business information objects, like a customer, order, or invoice, is represented as a service, with multiple operations to read, write, update, and delete, as well other more business-centric operations like “process order”.  Without this entity service layer, orchestration is very difficult, as every data access invocation requires multiple calls.  Carey made a compelling case that any composite app built on services requires an entity service layer.


Rob Steward of Data Direct discussed Data Direct’s SOA Data Access tools.  Like Dr. Carey, Rob discussed the need for a data services layer, and provided a definition of data services that included abstracting physical location away from the logical model, ideas that are core to XAware as well.  Rob described typical client application operations in terms of queries into a data services layer implemented by Service Data Objects (SDO), which are then manipulated, possible off-line, then updated back to the services layer.


Jeff Davis of HireRight, Inc. gave an interesting talk on his company’s services implementation using Apache Tuscany, which is a framework for implementing the Service Component Architecture (SCA), which allows services to be defined once, and invoked over any supported transport.  HireRight is mainly using JMS as their channel to invoke services.


Glen Daniels of WSO2 spoke about their company’s Registry product, and the influence of social web site features on its design.  The registry manages access to service definitions, and provides social features like ratings, comments, and labeling.  I thought this tack was interesting, because I believe the main reasons software reuse has never been what it should be revolves around human trust issues.  Can you trust the developer or his code?  Who else is using it that you might talk to?  If you trust the developer (based on a high rating), and a component is used by others with good reviews, then you are more likely to use that component.  This registry product includes core features common in most web 2.0 and community sites, to increase the trust factor, hopefully leading to better reuse.


While this is just a sampling of the sessions I attended, it does represent the most interesting of the bunch in my mind.

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