SOA benefits, part I / How SOa?
In the World of information technology (IT), in the 80’s most time was spent building server based applications. There were different operating systems and languages and programs generally didn’t speak to each other. The IT people thought, “Wouldn’t it be nice if we can put data from here into there?” So they worked all of the early 90’s to build bridges between all their different applications.
Some IT people called these activities ‘integration’.
In this period developers were working on a better model to develop and distribute software and standardize on common protocols, languages and frameworks.
As time went by the applications needed to be updated, but the integration bridges were not flexible enough and usually broke when one of the applications changed. Every time the IT people would upgrade an application, they would have to build a new or change the integration bridge.
Then the IT people thougt that there had to be a better way.
And so the SOA concept emerged. Because: what if each application would act as a service to all and integration bridges would not be needed anymore?
But what to do with all those old applications and bridges out there? These applications were not compatible with the new model. “Well”, the IT people said, “we’ll just make an adapter to the old and have it fit into the new”. There would be less effort and cost overall to put a new application in their world so the total cost of information system innovation went down.
So these lovely people are now working on their adapters to their old applications so that they can take down all their old hard to maintain integration bridges. And once they can finish those adapters, each of the old application can be updated with wonderful new and innovative technologies that was once thought too hard to implement.
This is a simple explanation and its demonstrates SOA on a application level. And its a bit technical focussed.
But the businesspeople can already begin to understand the benefits from this: They don’t have to throw away old and costly applications (reuse) and can add the necessary new techniques/applications. This gives lower system integration and maintenance cost.
More for the businesspeople in part II