All posts in SOA

Danish version:

I read the other day that the new system Proask for the National Board of Industrial Injuries in Denmark, was the first major project that would realize the Ministry of Employment strategic decision to use a Service Oriented Architecture ( SOA). For those who have not heard of Proask, it is yet another strongly delayed public project which, like most other public projects, are trying to solve a very big problem in a large chunk. A lot can be written about this approach, but in this blog post I will focus on here is their approach to SOA. A related article reports that the new Proask system is 5 times slower than their old system from 1991.

The Proask project was initiated in 2008. It made me think back on that other ( private) SOA prestige project from the same period, for which I was an architect for a subcontractor. The entire project was built around SOA with many subsystems that would deliver services. The entire architecture was built around an ESB that would act as facilitator in terms of mapping and coordination. All communication was done as synchronous WebService calls over HTTP(S). So classic SOA for the period 2003-201? (sadly synchronous calls are still the predominant integration form today). This SOA realization was also characterized by very poor performance, high latency  and low stability.

But why ? The reason lies in the way they had chosen to split up the services and not least that they had chosen to communicate synchronously between the different services and made use of layered SOA approach.
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Note: This is the english version of Jeppe’s blog post

There is an interesting change in the approach to SOA and it comes from an unexpected area.

I have worked with SOA (a great acronym which really says nothing as it has been watered out) for over 10 years and through my time I have seen companies build more and more hierarchy (or rather layers) and structure into their SOA landscape as a way to achieve “business agility through business and IT alignment and increased recycling”. If you tend to get a gag reflex by hearing the phrase, I feel you.

The idea and the intention is good, but the execution many places is to the grade F-. Instead of having achieved agility through loosely coupled services, these companies instead end up with hard-coupled services, an expensive and cumbersome organizational Enterprise Service Bus (ESB), which is placed centrally to coordinate the hundreds to thousands of services we have built. It is a bit like herding sheep with a chest freezer and a rope tied to each sheep.
Let me make it clear, I don’t believe SOA, nor the ESB, is to be blamed for these failures. In my experience it has been the way they were implemented and deployed that cause the majority of problems.

Herding sheep using a chest freezer and rope

Herding sheep using a chest freezer and rope

It’s messy and unstable. Not unstable as in the ESB is unstable, but unstable in that we’re desperately trying to create order out of chaos without understanding the mechanisms of action.
Let me make it clear, I don’t believe SOA, nor the ESB, is to be blamed for these failures. In my experience it has been the way SOA were implemented and deployed that has caused the majority of problems.
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The slides from our AANUG talk on “Agile, Architecture, DDD and CQRS” is available here

As always, feel free to leave comments 🙂

The slides from my recent AANUG conference talk is now available on Slideshare:

As always, if there’re any question or comments leave them below and we’ll get back in touch.

Most companies today use SOA to integrate their systems or mobile applications, or do they?
Join me on a historical trip where we will see how integration has remained stuck in the same patterns and we will also take a look at the emperors new clothes (or SOA as it’s practiced today).
After this we will look at how to do SOA better and the principles that will make this transition possible (keywords: Event Driven Architecture, Domain Driven Design, Composite UI’s and CQRS)

You can find the slides and video here.
Slideshare version of the slides is available here

If you have comments please post them below 🙂