Thursday, August 10, 2006

Venting on SOA 2.0

I'm admittedly a big Oracle fan. I believe in the software. I also like the company's willingness to take risks. I'm a major envangelist for Oracle within my own organization and elsewhere when the opportunity presents itself. Nevertheless, I've ridden with a burr under my saddle for several months...a burr that Oracle put there. With apologies to my many friends within Oracle and elsewhere in the Oracle universe who may disagree with my opinion, it's time to vent.

In May, Oracle introduced the concept of SOA 2.0 at JavaOne. They've continued to push this concept since that time. As I understand it, Oracle's flavor of SOA 2.0 is the combination of their Event-Driven Architecture (EDA) Suite combined with an SOA suite of tools (preferably Oracle's). You can learn more about the features of Oracle's EDA Suite here, so I won't rehash the highlights in this post. Suffice it to say that SOA 2.0 = EDA + SOA.

Now for my ranting. Web 2.0, Enterprise 2.0, and Office 2.0 are all the rage. And, at least from my perspective, all those "2.0" versions represent change in the overall concept of each. But now it seems the marketing folks have concluded that any concept hung with a "2.0" will generate significant buzz. The "2.0" suffix seems to have developed some serious marketing mojo. But the "2.0" concept is really stretched with SOA 2.0. What changed from plain, old SOA? Nothing that I can see, other than we added on some EDA tools on top and tagged SOA with a "2.0". It's analogous to adding a set of socks to a pair of shoes and selling the package as "Shoes 2.0"...and if WalMart steals this idea, I want royalties!

So, why am I upset about SOA 2.0? First, because the term adds confusion to the marketplace. Enterprises around the world are struggling to implement and master SOA as it is. In fact, if we're going assign version numbers, most are still struggling with "SOA 0.5" or less. Pushing SOA 2.0 at this time is like telling me that I really need to be on the summit of K2 when I'm still struggling to get halfway up Pike's Peak. Second, Oracle's flavor of SOA 2.0 essentially combines EDA and SOA technology...not much real innovation happening to benefit my enterprise, as I can buy both tools sets and integrate them without all the SOA 2.0 smoke and mirrors. In business terms (better, faster, lower cost - those types of tangible benefits), what benefit does SOA 2.0 provide over plain, old SOA? The business-oriented value proposition is not clear (at least, not to me). If there's no measurable business benefit, why bother with it?

Now, I know that Oracle is not the only organization jumping onto the SOA 2.0 bandwagon. Nevertheless, I have higher expectations of Oracle and I'm disappointed with that they're "stirring the pot" with the fuss they're making over SOA 2.0.

It could be that I just don't understand Oracle's version of SOA 2.0, and so my post here only demonstrates my lack of understanding. If that's the case, somebody please set me straight by commenting on this article. On the other hand, if you find yourself on my side of the fence, there is an on-line petition protesting the confusion surrounding the term "SOA 2.0" here. You may want to consider signing the petition yourself.

No comments: