Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Yefim Natis is sure that ""SOA is integration"

Jack Vaughan of SearchSOA.com filed a report on Gartner's 2008 Application Architecture, Development & Integration Summit. The report contained the following comment from Gartner's Yefim Natis that was posted on Yahoo's SOA Group which triggered heated exchange amongst architects, users, vendors, and analysts:

The idea that 'one SOA fits all' may be fading. "SOA is integration. It is a strategic initiative," said Gartner analyst Yefim Natis. "You can only do it in parts of a domain where you have control."

"SOA is integration" was taken out. A new discussion thread on Yahoo got started titled: Yefim Natis is sure that ""SOA is integration" (which is unfortunate, because it doesn't help set the stage for a good group conversation)

I wanted to make a couple of points about the discussion on Yahoo and the article:

  1. First of all, I have read some of Yefim's analysis over the years and I think he's a very smart guy. To suggest, he believes SOA == integration is wrong. I thought his comments were taken out of context and simply misinterpreted.
  2. Despite the article's suggestion that there is no consensus about what SOA is, I thought the discussion on Yahoo actually demonstrated a good example of agreement on SOA across different types of people (in a technical community). Most agreed SOA is architecture and a method for aligning IT with business. They also agreed SOA is more than integration or WS-*…

The discussion reminded me of the following diagram we used to show to customers back in the early days:

The fact is SOA is multi-dimensional and multi-disciplinary especially in the context of business innovation. One of the common patterns of business model innovation is value-chain integration and optimization. So, I suppose it is natural for some SOA architects to think of SOA primarily in terms of integration… No question that is a narrow view.

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