New year - same old SOA tempests?

With 2009 still new, the SOA space continues to resemble a tea pot, one in which tempests are always blowing. Up for your consideration: The idea that 'SOA is dead.'

UPDATED - With 2009 still new, the SOA space continues to resemble a teapot in which tempests are always blowing.

A look at the First Day's e-mailbox showed a missive courtesy of Burton Group and SOA Practice VP Anne Thomas Manes, which proclaimed that "SOA is Dead." Despite this 'news,' the editor of SearchSOA.com decided to come to work the next day, and not for the purpose of dissecting a corpse.

You may remember the precursor to the SOA is Dead movement. That was the SOA Fatigue movement, covered fully in these pages in The Dog Days of SOA and elsewhere. It referenced some failed SOA projects cited by Burton Group as intrinsic (maybe they would say 'fatal') SOA flaws. Now Manes has gone a step further, declaring SOA as dead.

"Once thought to be the savior of IT, she proclaims that SOA instead turned into a great failed experiment—at least for most organizations."

Among Manes' contentions is that too many SOA projects failed. That SOA became too big. "It's time to accept reality. SOA fatigue has turned into SOA disillusionment," she writes.

To which we respond: Projects do fail, don't they? Who said 'Big SOA' was ever a good idea? And, if someone is 'disillusioned' now, does that not imply that they were 'illusioned' in the first place?

Manes has long been a leading SOA thinker, with a special understanding of SOA repositories, registries, and governance. She also has been at times refreshingly controversial.

But in her latest tract, Manes wants it both ways, she pays homage to service-oriented architecture as a good idea, but she says the term 'SOA' is useless and dead. "SOA" has become a bad word, she says. "It must be removed from our vocabulary."

In fact, she says that services are good; it's just SOA that as a term is bad. Of course, such nuances are often obscured in the great clammer and rush of the blogosphere.

Our take: It's good to have give-and-take and controversy. But this has fully played out in the SOA space. There is a lot in a word, and SOA is not a bad one. It's everyone's job to build good apps and good integrations. If you feel like discarding SOA as a buzz word, go for it – no need to 'kill' it. The claim that "SOA is a great failed experiment" is extraordinary hyperbole, and such hyperbole is the enemy of getting the job done.

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