News.com has an interview with IBM’s Bob Sutor, or is it puts it, Mr. Web Services and service-oriented architectures (SOA). Excerpts:
When you look at enterprise software, it may have sounded exciting in 1999 to rip everything out, but everyone was a little crazy back then. Right now, people are very much saying, “Look, I want to make all the stuff I have–all the facilities and information–available to the right people. But I’ve got to keep my critical business processes going. I cannot bring them down, so you have to show me how to extend what I have already.”
When services are outsourced, there are basically two things that you want to do. You have to understand how you talk to (the service), so you have to understand the interface, how to tell it to do things. And then you have to understand the quality of that service.
SOA [is] the larger picture. It is distributed computing with characteristics around liability, security and manageability crossing enterprise boundaries.
The world has changed a lot, and we no longer have control of all the things we are running. It turns out that Web services is by and large the best way we are going to do this today, because it also involves things like Java. So therefore, Web services in terms of being adopted is early mainstream. Gartner thinks that slightly more than 50 percent of companies are showing signs of doing Web services today.
SOA has been around a long time, since the client server in the ’80s. As a subset of object-oriented programming and design, SOA was clearly in there. And there was a glimmer of this a few years ago, when Java was coming out. Certainly, everyone in the universe used Java. But it was the Internet and XML that made this fully possible, so today, it is characterized by saying it is distributed computing. It is loosely coupled, which means that you have very little knowledge about the actual construction of the services.