James Governor's Monkchips

When is an SOA not an SOA?

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When a user is giving the presentation…

I went to a great session today led by Jim Raper, manager of data administration at City of Charlotte, North Carolina. He talked about the straightforward but powerful approach to orchestration his organisation uses, to enable central datawarehousing services to be used flexibly by end users, with their own chosen semantics for entities. Jim didn’t use the SOA word once, but the approach was undoubtedly service oriented.

If this had of been an analyst or vendor presentation it would have likely been SOA blah blah. Smart approaches to technology however will be here long after the SOA buzz has moved on.

I am not arguing that SOA isn’t valuable, but rather you don’t have to call it that to get the value of the approach. It’s the architecture, stupid.  


  1. Indeed you are right. I find this stuff easy when you have a practical example and impossible as theory. I suppose that is better than the other way around.

    Don’t let the dark side corrupt you with all that Fusion business though. !-)

  2. Assuming one defines SOA as an architectural paradigm or view of software archtiecture with a set of corresponding patterns, an SOA is no longer an SOA when it incorporates anti-patterns of SOA. Briefly, some of the patterns might be tight binding (as defined by the absence of a service description), a transparent service (requiring the consumer to have knowledge of how the service is implemented) and patterns that disturb the scatalogical instances within SOA.


  3. I’d go even further James and say that not only is it often superior to present an architecture without mentioning the supposed name of the architectural approach/style used, but often it’s best not to mention the concept of architecture at all.

    The desired outcomes and value of the solution to the audience you’re talking to should press the right buttons.

    Unless of course the audience is pure software people or technical architects and then their desired outcomes and value can be the architectural approach/style itself. Hence the problem of course … I like to call it supply-side thinking.


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