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Migrating to a Service-Oriented Architecture, Part 2

Continued from Page 4

And Now the Future – New Models, New Requirements

So far, this discussion has centered around concepts related to meeting existing business requirements, better utilization and reuse of resources, and integration of existing and new applications. But what if a completely new model for application development emerges? Will the notion of a service-oriented architecture still be meaningful or required? Actually, two new concepts are already beginning to be implemented: Grid computing and on-demand computing. While these models are distinct and have developed separately, they are closely related, and each makes the evolution to a SOA even more imperative.

Grid Computing

An in-depth discussion of Grid computing is beyond the scope of this introduction, but a couple of points are worth mentioning. First of all, Grid computing is much more than just the application of large numbers of MIPS to effect a computing solution to a complex problem. It involves the virtualization of all the system resources including hardware, applications, and data, so that they can be utilized wherever and however they are needed within the grid. Secondly, previous sections have already discussed the importance of virtualization of data sources and the decomposition of applications into component-based services, so it should be easily understood that a true SOA should better enable getting maximum resource utilization in a Grid environment.

On-demand Computing

On-demand is also not in the scope of this discussion, but again we would be remiss in not providing a brief connection between on-demand and SOA. Web services is an enabling technology for SOA, and SOA is an enabling architecture for on-demand applications. Applications must operate in a SOA framework to realize the benefits of on-demand.

Web services on-demand is a subset of the on-demand message, which covers a wide spectrum. On one end of this spectrum, there is a focus on the application environment, and on the other end, a focus on the operating environment, which includes items like infrastructure and autonomic computing. Business transformation leverages both the application and operating environments to create an on-demand business. At the heart of this on-demand business will be Web services on-demand, wherein application-level services can be discovered, reconfigured, assembled, and delivered on demand with “just-in-time” integration capabilities.

The promise of Web services as an enabling technology is that it will enhance business value by providing capabilities such as services on-demand and, over time, will transform the way IT organizations develop software. It quite possibly might even transform the way business is conducted and products and services are offered over the Web in communities of interest that include trading partners, customers, and other types of business partnership.

What if all of your applications shared the same transport protocol? What if they all understood the same interface? What if they could participate in and understand the same transaction model? What if this were true of your partners? Then, you would have applications and an infrastructure to support an ever-changing business landscape — you would have achieved on-demand. Web services and SOA make this possible for applications.


Service-oriented architectures (SOAs) are the next wave of application development. Services and SOAs are all about designing and building systems using heterogeneous, network-addressable software components. SOA is an architecture with special properties, comprised of components and interconnections that stress interoperability and location transparency. It often can be evolved based on existing system investments, rather than requiring a full scale system rewrite; it leverages an organization’s existing investment by taking advantage of current resources, including developers, software languages, hardware platforms, databases, and applications, and will thus reduce costs and risks while boosting productivity.

This adaptable, flexible style of architecture provides the foundation for shorter time-to-market and reduced costs and risks in development and maintenance. Web services is a set of enabling technologies for SOA, and SOA is becoming the architecture of choice for development of responsive, adaptive new applications.

About the Authors

Kishore Channabasavaiah received a Bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering from Bangalore University, India. He is currently an Executive Architect in the Chicago Innovation Center of IBM Global Services. He provides thought leadership for e-business Integration solutions with a focus on Web services and end-to-end solutions. His current focus is in Web application solutions, conducting technical solution reviews, Web services, service-oriented architecture, and Pervasive Computing.

Kerrie Holley received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics and a Juris Doctorate in law degree from DePaul University. He is currently a Distinguished Engineer in IBM Global Services and a Chief Architect in the e-business Integration Solutions where he provides thought leadership for the Web services practice. His current focus is in software engineering best practices, end-to-end advanced Web development, adaptive enterprise architecture, conducting architecture reviews, Web services, and service-oriented architecture.

Edward M. Tuggle, Jr. received a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from the University of Oklahoma, and is currently a Senior Software Engineer on the IBM Software Group jStart Emerging Technology Solutions team. He has worked with IBM in operating systems design, development, and maintenance for 23 years, for the past six years in Java technology and other emerging technologies, and is now specializing in Web services and service-oriented architecture.

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