From the Founder of Good Data, NetBeans and Systinet

Roman Stanek

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Looking for SOA in All the Wrong Places?

Systinet’s founding CTO and my friend Anne Thomas Manes pronounced the demise of SOA a few weeks ago

Systinet’s founding CTO and my friend Anne Thomas Manes pronounced the demise of SOA a few weeks ago. Honestly, SOA lost its meaning for me on the day when good, old Solaris became the “SOA operating system”. But is SOA dead or not? I don’t believe so but I think that Anne and others are looking for SOA in the wrong places. Here is why:

Part of our Systinet SOA pitch was this truism: “SOA is not something you can buy”. We believed that SOA didn’t come in a box and companies have to invest time and money to build it. And maybe this is the crux of the problem. What if the act of building internal service blueprint is beyond the capabilities and budgets of the individual customers? Go to the SOA mailing list and try to understand how to build your own SOA and you can spend the rest of your life reading the discussions and related blogs and comments.

Systinet SOA

My point is that IT departments will always spend most of their budgets keeping the lights on and there is not enough money left for a complete architectural redesign. And even if they decide to throw more money at it they will still not get it right because of lack of internal expertise, lack of vision and simply because it is too hard to rebuild systems that somehow “work”. Every company seems to have a set of requirements that none of the commercial products can ever satisfy and as a result the existing internal architectures are usually completely proprietary. And sediments of bad architectural decisions are nearly impossible to peel off…

Maybe it’s time to forget about this SOA delusion and look someplace else. For companies like Google, Amazon, Workday and others (including my company - Good Data) SOA is not only “yet another IT initiative” but the key differentiator that allows them to deliver a flexible and extensible set of services. And the only way IT departments will be able to “buy SOA” is to use services from the companies in the cloud. The role of proprietary internal architectures will diminish over time as companies move to an increasing number of on-demand services - and that is probably what Anne wanted to say when she declared SOA dead…

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Roman Stanek is a technology visionary who has spent the past fifteen years building world-class technology companies. Currently Founder & CEO of Good Data, which provides collaborative analytics on demand, he previously co-founded first NetBeans, now a part of Sun Microsystems and one of the leading Java IDEs, and then and Systinet, now owned by Hewlett-Packard and the leading SOA Governance platform on the market.