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SOA Uptake Still 'Early,' Analysts Say

The general enthusiasm for using SOA to improve business IT processes is high, but the actual adoption rates haven't skyrocketed yet, according to some accounts.

A report from Research 2.0 describes the current use of service-oriented architecture (SOA) as experimental. The research firm's report of May 31, 2007 predicts that SOA will be embraced as mainstream technology by the year 2015. Packaged SOA applications will become market disruptors for companies such as Oracle, SAP and Salesforce.com, the report speculates.

Forester reported in a study that 21 percent of North American and European (NA-EU) enterprises said they'll adopt SOA in 2007. It also reported that 22 percent of Asia Pacific enterprises and 14 percent of NA-EU small-to-medium businesses plan to adopt SOA in 2007. However, the authors of the report, "Planned SOA Usage Grows Faster Than Actual SOA Usage," think that those figures may be optimistic because of results from an earlier survey. In 2006, 14 percent of NA-EU enterprises said they'd adopt SOA, but only two percent actually did.

An HP-funded survey of 1,125 IT professionals in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific, conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit, found that IT executives in the United States appeared to be "somewhat less enthused" with SOA than their peers abroad. The report, "IT at the Speed of Business," asked the executives about the primary use of SOA. Thirty percent of respondents in the Americas answered that "There's no compelling reason to use SOA," but just 10 percent of EMEA execs and 17 percent of Asia-Pacific execs had that same response.

The HP report's authors noted that the main reasons to use SOA, as described by the survey respondents, are to reduce IT risk to business and speed IT delivery. However, they added a caveat in their analysis, calling SOA "new technology."

"Some caution in regard to SOA is not out of place, as there are risks involved in the deployment of any new technology or platform," stated the HP report's authors. "Organisations are still very early in the implementation stage of SOA, and problems are very likely to emerge."

While analysts don't exactly seem bullish about SOA, here are a few of the industry SOA developments that happened last week.

SOA Implementations
Tibco Software is providing its SOA and AJAX rich Internet applications software to the New York-based GFI Group, a broker of derivatives in the financial services industry. GFI plans to use Tibco's BusinessWorks enterprise service bus and software to enable loosely coupled services, supporting GFI's over-the-counter derivatives business. Tibco's General Interface and AJAX Message Service will enable streaming data, allowing GFI to capture data in a dashboard and monitor transactions in real time.

SOA Collaborations
Crosscheck Networks has joined Pegasystems' Pega Exchange program. Crosscheck's SOA testing solution is now available to customers using the Pegasystems SmartBPM platform, a business process management solution for SOA Web services.

Progress Software and Lombardi are jointly marketing each other's products, which can be used for an SOA. The companies are teaming up to support Lombardi's business process management platform and Progress' Sonic ESB (Enterprise Service Bus).

Siemens Medical Solutions USA is working with Boston-based Partners HealthCare on an SOA for healthcare IT. The two companies plan to support clinical services using Siemens' Soarian SOA platform, which is designed to manage healthcare data and processes associated with the healthcare team.

Skyway Software, a provider of solutions that support SOA-based J2EE applications, is collaborating with Domain Technologies, a U.K.-based business-technology consulting firm operating in Europe and the Far East. Domain is now a Skyway Ascend Alliance Reseller, and the two companies are working on a "high-profile SOA project at British American Tobacco," according to a joint announcement.

IBM SOA Partnerships
Actuate Corp. has integrated a commercial version of its business intelligence support tools with IBM's Rational Portfolio Manager version 7.1. The collaborative effort helps extend governance capabilities and enables greater analysis and reporting in an SOA. IBM's solution now integrates with Actuate's Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools (BIRT), which Actuate initiated as part of the Eclipse Foundation's open source project. BIRT is a reporting system for Web applications, especially for those based on Java and J2EE.

As part of an expanding partnership with IBM, WebLayers has validated its flagship SOA governance solution with the IBM Rational Application Developer solution, meeting IBM's requirements for interoperability and usability. The WebLayer Center platform also provides governance across other IBM Rational solutions, including ClearCase, BuildForge and Rational Asset Manager.

New SOA Products
Iona Technologies has added to its suite of SOA solutions with its new Artix Data Services product. The solution, which works as part of the company's Iona Artix suite or as a separate component, allows for the quick transformation of data at run time. It also facilitates the reuse of data validation and transformation rules. The product's release follows on the heels of Iona's acquisition of C24, a company that specialized in data management and transformation technologies.

Unisys Corp. has rolled out a suite of tools that enables mainframe applications to work in an SOA. The company's SOA for ClearPath solution supports Unisys ClearPath enterprise servers, providing visibility into business processes while using existing applications. Companies can model their business and IT infrastructure and examine potential outcomes before deciding on transformation approaches.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.