SOA Strikes Back!

Security4 minutes readFeb 7th, 2013

Service orientation is a philosophy that’s been in circulation for a while now. Since the inception of Web services companies have sought to embrace SOA (Service Oriented Architecture). However, not all attempts were successful. Organizations were unable to organize their applications in a service-oriented manner. Was there a lack of vision?

While SOA was the right vision, organizations could not see beyond immediate challenges and opportunities. They failed to recognise that organizing applications as “services” would be ideal for adopting new or future technologies, Cloud Computing for example. Furthermore, results did not match expectations. The SOA approach, it appeared, often offered no immediate clear objectives, no specific focus, and yielded poor results. The reason for this apparent failure is clear. In the year 2000, making large IT investments, especially in long term initiatives was not considered prudent. Furthermore, IT Providers were focused on selling infrastructure. Organizational culture, policies, consulting experts and aligning applications to larger business goals were not taken into consideration by IT decision makers. Bearing in mind that Cloud technology was not “visible” it is understandable that the full benefits of SOA were not evident or realised. The effort and investment required seemed high and the cultural aspect of SOA remained untapped.

Today, our clients see the need to break out of silos and organize “applications as services.” Without this shift they will not be able to implement cloud infrastructure or leverage cloud services to improve, modernize or extend existing IT investments.

According to “Executive’s Guide to Cloud Computing” by Erik A. Martz and Bob Lozano (ISBN: 9780470521724), business models can be classified as a) Cloud-enabled and b) Cloud-based. The latter is more Cloud-oriented, but in both cases, medium and large companies cannot exploit the power of “Cloud Computing” if they do not think, shape and build their solutions as “services.”

Although, it is possible to embrace Cloud in specific areas with siloed IT, sooner or later, silos will block the journey to Cloud and restrict savings and flexibility that can be gathered through it. Additionally, companies seeking to sell solutions “as services” have to organize their IT in a “service-oriented” manner if they are to gain the right granularity, flexibility and speed needed to remain competitive.

This explains why some large companies have (re)started their SOA initiatives; the added value that SOA brings is now clearly visible. When a goal is articulated clearly and perceived correctly it is easier for the entire company to move to that direction. Easier, not easy.

A large IT infrastructure is usually complex; it constitutes legacy systems and several technology layers built over the years into the data center. Unisys understands the need to modernize IT; our SOA-based offering Application Modernization Platform as a Service (AMPS), helps clients address challenges of modernization. The offering includes services and products that are linked but not tied to each other; clients choose the services and/or the product stack.

SOA might conjure images of complexity for a CIO. Dealing with different product vendors, each of them with unique licensing strategies, SLAs, etc., is certainly a cumbersome proposition. Unisys solves this issue quite simply. We give clients a “One Stop Shop” to meet their SOA needs. We provide the entire stack tailor-made for each client with a single point of access, support, and single pricing schema. It’s our job to deal with the vendors, not the client’s pain anymore!

When IT is layered with several technologies and products across Business Units with different policies, it is no longer a matter of implementing SOA initiatives across the entire organization. One needs to assess the existing environment, then shape, plan, build, deploy and support the SOA infrastructure step by step, while simultaneously replacing, evolving or adjusting application silos. Unisys has built and engineered a specific set of blueprints, which our consultants reuse to speed up the process keeping it simple and safe for our clients.

We know that skipping or failing the SOA initiative would waste our clients’ Cloud journey, we know where potential issues, risks, shortcuts, opportunities lie and we bring this expertise to our clients; our focus is on helping clients embrace the Cloud starting from the core and not on selling just a product!