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Udi Dahan

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Trusting vendors with your SOA strategy

June 19, 2008

I ran into this not so long ago besmirching Microsoft’s lack of “SOA Strategy”.

Straight off the bat, the slant is apparent:

“Microsoft doesn’t enjoy the best reputation in the tech community as what you might call a “team player.” Part of this is the open source community’s doing: They’re vocal and they value open code, which obviously hasn’t been a big priority for Microsoft.”

And the other big players that are buying everything that have an “S” in their name, that is called being a “team player”? Give me a break.

Other nameless bashers are brought to bear as well:

“The problem is, many technologists say Microsoft is being a bit vague and noncommittal about SOA. They wonder if Microsoft even has a real strategy for a service-based architecture.”

Seeing as the industry hasn’t even agreed on what is, or isn’t SOA, I’d say that the industry as a whole is “being a bit vague”. Is it about technology? Business? Both? In what way is it different from Enterprise Architecture? Solutions Architecture? Heck, we at the International Association of Software Architects [IASA] are still trying to help get a handle on just the “A” - Architecture.

Here’s some more:

“I think what’s confusing matters is Microsoft’s inability, thus far, to reconcile SOA’s demands for open code and standards with a business model that’s thrived on proprietary solutions.”

Given that we haven’t agreed what SOA is, stating that it “demands … open code” is something of a stretch. More so when we realize that architecture is primarily independent of technology. Code, open or otherwise, has little impact on whether a given architecture is service-oriented or not.

The piece also points to Eric Roch’s post which brings in the whole ESB debacle. Using yet another ill-defined TLA to bring clarity to SOA, yep, that’s the ticket.

Look, I’ve never been one to applaud Microsoft’s SOA efforts. But then again, I’ve never done that for any vendor or consulting firm. I wouldn’t trust any vendor with defining strategy for my clients, be that SOA strategy or anything else. You wouldn’t expect a vendor to come in, take a look around, and say, “Our products are simply incompatible with the way you do business here, goodbye.” even if that is the reality. So I really don’t understand what all the ruckus is about.

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