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Thomas Erl discusses upcoming SOA, Cloud and Service Technology Symposium

Later this month, experts and authors from around the globe will gather in London for the fifth annual SOA, Cloud and Service Technology Symposium. This year’s conference agenda reflects aspects of the progress of SOA – both subtle and profound.

In reviewing this year’s submissions, some vivid trends emerged, said Thomas Erl, prominent SOA author, educator and conference chair. “Many sessions are about the convergence of different areas,” said Erl, noting the original event covered SOA, then it covered SOA and cloud computing, and now it has broadened further.

“As you go through all the submissions, you kind of witness an evolution in the industry. It is a reflection as to where the industry itself is going,” he said. As the naming of the event suggests, Erl sees an emerging field that can be called “service technology.”

“In the early days of SOA, people associated SOA with Web services. There was a communications barrier [with people] who thought it was just a way of implementing Web services,” he said. “Now we are seeing many more sessions that look at how [cloud, SOA and services] are applied together, and what the implications are.”

The Symposium, set for Sept 24 –  25 at Imperial College, is slated to cover a broad variety of SOA and cloud-related topics as well. Among scheduled sessions are “Lightweight BPM and SOA,” “Moving Applications to the Cloud: Migration Options,” and “The Rise of the Enterprise Service Bus.” Also on the agenda is a series of on-site training and certification workshops. Billed as “bootcamp-style training sessions,” the workshops will provide preparation for a number of industry-recognized certifications, including SOA architect and cloud technology professional programs.

A key aim of the conference is to offer SOA, cloud computing and service technologies practitioners a look at real-world implementations and field-tested industry practices. However, the event will also cover emerging trends and innovations in the space.

Keynotes at the event include SOA case studies and panels featuring technologists from both NASA and the European Space Agency. Gartner’s Ann Manes and TOG’s Chris Harding are speaking. FAA and DoD presenters are on hand as well. Conference tracks will range from cloud-based enterprise architecture and new REST and Web services techniques, to service infrastructure and virtualization.

The REST-related sessions delve into one of the brightest stars in today’s SOA firmament.  In fact, Erl  recently debuted a new book in his Prentice Hall Service Technology Series, entitled “SOA with Rest: Principles, Patterns and Constraints for Building Enterprise Solutions with REST,” that is solely dedicated to discussing SOA and REST.

As new phenomena enter the IT world, they usually have antecedents, noted Erl. One such phenomenon is the open API, which has sprung catlike on the modern technology consciousness. The topic is covered in symposium sessions such as “The Open API Economy: What Is It and How Do I Capitalize on It?” led by IBM’s Laura Olson.

“A whole new segment of the IT community has rediscovered the term ‘API,’” Erl mused. “Now we have new ways of doing APIs. It is interesting how much we can further build upon concepts that have been around for decades and re-leverage them.”

The largest international conference of its kind, the symposium will feature over 100 expert speaker sessions, spread across thirteen conference tracks. The overarching theme of this year’s event is “Exploring Modern Service Technologies and Practices.” Much of the event will focus on how to realize modern service technologies in the real world. – Stephanie Mann and Jack Vaughan

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