Enterprise SOA: Five steps to the next frontier

By Tarak Modi, TekNirvana.com |  SOA, architecture

What do enterprise architecture, virtualization, security, business intelligence, and organizational culture have in common with each other and with SOA? If you answered "very little to nothing at all," then think again because each one of these can make or break your SOA implementation.

To be fair, if all you are trying to do is implement a simple application as an SOA, then you might not need to consider the above items but the rules of engagement quickly change the moment you start expanding your SOA initiative beyond these simple boundaries. So, how can these five items elevate your current SOA implementation to an enterprise-level SOA? Let's take a look.

Enterprise Architecture
To identify the "right" services you must start from the business strategy and business processes and move down towards the applications, data, and technology as opposed to the other way around. As shown in figure 1, enterprise architecture is what will guide you on that top-down journey. Enterprise architecture is the blueprint that translates an enterprise's strategy and operating model into an executable architecture of processes, applications, data, and infrastructure. This blueprint is also where you will find candidate services for your enterprise SOA.

Enterprise architecture guides services in an SOA
Figure 1: Enterprise architecture guides services in an SOA

SOA is a software architectural style that focuses on creating reusable, deployment/location independent, and standardized business services. But to truly create an agile environment your infrastructure must match the agility of your application and data layer. After all, why should you limit your SOA-based application layer by a monolithic infrastructure layer? Virtualization is the key to transforming your infrastructure layer to a service-oriented infrastructure (SOI) and "impedance matching" it to your SOA. Figure 2 shows an SOA application layer deployed on a virtualized SOI.

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