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The state of service-oriented architecture: SOA trends in 2012

The 2011-2012 reader survey shows a big upswing in use of SOA to support new mobile and cloud computing applications.

What is the state of SOA today? Service-oriented architecture (SOA) has been at times maligned but it now is on the verge of mainstream acceptance. SOA technologies shows maturity, success and even some signs of popularity in the 2011-2012 Readership Challenges & Priorities Survey. The use of SOA architecture for pivotal emerging technologies, especially for mobile applications and cloud computing, suggests that the outlook for SOA is favorable. This special report looks at the SOA 2012 Survey data and gathers commentary from key software thought leaders, to help you gain perspective on this game changing approach to enterprise software development. 

Among stories in the offering is an article that asks if SOA can become more flexible in the face of today's complex business challenges. This story looks at whether SOA truly addresses the concerns of new technologies and changing business environments. SOA governance, the repository-based methodology for enforcing services discipline, is among the topics considered. 

Many enterprise architects are wondering the mobile business model will drive SOA technologies in a new direction. This question is explored by writer Stephanie Mann. She finds that enterprise mobility is setting trends in both SOA and the businesses it is trying to help. Experts interviewed suggest that, going forward, the mobile worker and the consumer will be more central to successful IT planning.

Meanwhile, a close look at mobile app integration today tells us that pressing mobile trends will prompt IT and business leaders to ensure mobile-friendly infrastructure. Experts are divided on what that will mean for SOA.

Gartner analyst Anne Thomas Manes clearly states that people are learning SOA architecture as she talks with for the site's annual survey coverage. In 2009, she blogged that "SOA is dead." Her critique helped disarm an overloaded train of SOA hype. SOA trends keep shifting. Today, Manes says, "people are starting to actually get the architecture."

Still, there are some organizations struggling to define SOA infrastructure. Certain software types seem to go hand in hand with the SOA way, but what do people mean when they say SOA infrastructure? Service-oriented architecture may refer to SOA technologies, but it is also represented in a range of architectural practices, and the SOA Trends 2012 Survey shows how those tools fare in the era of Web 2.0 and beyond.

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