Tips 7 through 10

By Ericka Chickowski  |  Posted 2008-03-25 Print this article Print

Dig around a little and you'll find that service-oriented architecture is worthy of much of the hype it receives. But if you are just starting out, can your business and infrastructure handle all the complexities? Here are ten tips for approaching SOA successfully before over-committing, over-paying and under-delivering.

7. Bake security into the architecture from the start.
One major consequence of transitioning to SOA is that it can create a number of governance and security concerns along the way.

“If you have a bunch of services and anybody can build any service and anybody can compose them together that means that things can be really unpredictable,” Schmelzer said.

The problem is that many SOA architects are failing to bake in security because they are approaching SOA incrementally and don’t think they need security for smaller projects.

“They’ll say, ‘Well, I don’t need governance because I’m only going to have one or two services that are only going to be used in this environment so let me just put them up,” Schmelzer said. “The problem  is that that rationale only works if you're planning on the services not actually being used. And if that's your conclusion then why'd you even go through all of that. If they're not going to be used then just don't build them in the first place."

Putting security and governance into the process is all about avoiding chaos, he says

“If governance is put into place it will make sure people aren't building incompatible services or services that are redundant,” he said. “But more importantly people aren't combining services together that shouldn't be combined because of policy or they're putting  a service into some production environment that s going to dramatically increase its usage above what the infrastructure can support. The governance is like the police."

8. Expect SOA technology to change a lot.
Heffner warns businesses that as early-adopters of SOA, they should expect the technology that supports it to change a lot over the next couple of years. This is partially why incrementalism can be very beneficial.

“When you go to actually make the investments in new products and technologies, view those, first and foremost, as tactical investments that may need to be redone and reworked over the next couple of years as SOA technologies as vendors and vendor landscapes and technologies and standards mature,” Heffner said. “There's so much left to mature in terms of the SOA standards and things will change.”

9. Push vendors for better investment models.
Because that vendor landscape is changing, enterprises can have a positive impact on the technologies that will help them to accomplish their SOA goals. Heffner encourages organizations to push vendors to adjust their technology offerings in ways that make sense for their business workings and return on SOA investment.

“I would push vendors to give you investment models that match the business model that you're going to get out of the platform,” he said. “Talk to vendors and say, ‘Here's how much business value I'm going to get in the short run, I've got to have an investment model that doesn't outrun that or I'm not going to be able to buy anything.’”

10. Find a vendor willing to be a partner.
Similarly, be choosy about who you choose to help you accomplish SOA goals, Heffner said. During negotiation, play vendors off one another for the best deals and also let them know what your short- and long-term goals are. Explain that you don’t want to buy everything all at once.

“Tell them, ‘We are committing to your product in a long-term way but we only want this much right now.  Here's how much we'll pay now. As we expand it, here's how much we'll pay later, and when we expand it to an enterprise thing, here's how much we'll pay,’” Heffner said. “Negotiate all that up front, and the vendor can see the path and then it's incumbent upon the vendor to actually deliver the value so that you buy into those extra levels.  It's a matter of how creative you can be with your negotiation and how you position the vendor's opportunity.”


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