May 27, 2009

SOA in a Sentence?

Today I'm at the SOA and Integration Convention in Ramat Gan, Israel (link-hebrew).

SOA is relatively new to Israeli IT enterprises, with the bleeding edge enterprises having been working with it for 2-3 years, and the leading edge enterprises starting in the last year or so. This makes some sense as the average enterprise in Israel is much smaller than the US, with only a small group reaching US Fortune 500 IT enterprise size. As such, the integration and system interaction problem hasn't reached the scale to cause sufficient pain to warrent changing to a new model such as SOA is.

So a a conference such as this, I see the standard SOA vendors (HP, Software AG, IBM, Oracle) presenting at a more simplistic level than you might find at a similar conference in the US. As much of the audience is only starting to experiment with SOA now, and even those experienced are at an early stage of the maturity process, this makes sense. Yet I'm surprised to still see the vendors struggling with trying to describe what SOA is. Of course, given the wide range of products that are all over the technology space being described as key SOA tools, I guess the vendors struggling to position whatever they are doing as SOA shouldn't be a surprise.

Here's the best one sentence explanation I heard trying to describe SOA, from IBM:

SOA is an IT architecture style that lets you integrate applications through a series of linked services.

I thought this was ok, though a co-worker with me at the conference choked on it. Personally I would rephrase it slightly and get a much better one sentence result...

SOA is an IT architecture stye that lets you build applications as a series of linked services.

Anyone else have a good one sentence or SOA elevator pitch?