SOA presents a paradox: Turning applications into platform-agnostic services is a great way to reduce redundancy and accelerate integration, but where can you turn for architectural guidance that avoids the vendor lock-in SOA is supposed to prevent in the first place?
On Monday, the OASIS standards organization announced plans to create blueprints that point the way toward effective SOA architectures and implementations -- without stipulating particular products or platforms. The effort is being led by Miko Matsumura, a vice president at Web services management software vendor Infravio and the proposed chair of the OASIS SOA Adoption Blueprints Technical Committee.
The blueprints will be based on work done by The Middleware Co. analyst firm, whose new owner, TechTarget, sold the intellectual capital to Matsumura (a former employee of The Middleware Company and ex-Sun evangelist) for US$1 with the understanding that the documents would be made available license-free to the IT community. Both BEA and Microsoft played a major role in the blueprint effort, which may be why IBM is absent from the list of supporters (IBM offered InfoWorld a "no comment" when asked about the initiative). Technical Committee members include Adobe Systems, Datapower, Infravio, and Software AG.
"We feel that there are two major benefits to this whole endeavor," Matsumura said. "The first is about developing a community of best practices, which hovers around functional requirements and business requirements. The second is that people can use these implementations as a mechanism for doing technology supplier selection."
Although this architecture-level project landed in OASIS, Matsumura told InfoWorld that he first approached the WS-I (Web Services Interoperability) organization, which advised him that achieving consensus on the blueprints would be a lengthy process. That's in keeping with the reputation of the WS-I, which has been slow to fulfill its promise of producing inclusive guidelines for Web services best practices.
The set of SOA Initiative Blueprints Documents that will form the basis for OASIS's work can be downloaded free from SOA Center.