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SOA mature, diverse and successful – study finds

SOA implementations involve multiple vendors, extend well beyond simple Web services and are largely rated as successes by 330 IT professionals responding to a survey by AmberPoint Inc.

If nothing succeeds like success, service-oriented architecture (SOA) is poised for victory, according to a new "State of SOA Adoption Survey" conducted by AmberPoint Inc., the SOA governance vendor.

There were a couple of failures in the mix, but not a lot.
Ed Horst
Vice President for MarketingAmberPoint Inc.

Responses from 330 IT professionals working at various stages on SOA adoption was surprising in showing the maturity and scope of current adoption and thus countering perceptions that SOA is still limited to pilot and tactical projects.

But for the future of SOA in troubled economic times the most important findings were that 38 percent of respondents said SOA met all of their goals, 60 percent said SOA met most of their goals, and only 1.5 percent reports that their implementation was not successful.

"What was surprising was that we gave them the option of telling us how successful their deployments were," said Ed Horst, vice president for marketing at AmberPoint. "Some people had deployments, some people didn't. But among the people who had SOA deployed, the overwhelming majority of them assess them as being successful in one degree or another. There were a couple of failures in the mix, but not a lot."

In a year of economic uncertainty, that success ratio may bode well for continuing SOA adoption, Horst said.

"The success rate is encouraging," said he said. "People are being successful. That points to more projects in the future."

Horst said there were several surprises in the survey not the least of which was the maturity and scope of the SOA implementations respondents reported.

"One of the surprises was the sophistication of the projects that were deployed based on the number of components that were involved," he said. "A minority of the systems had a small number of components. So the level of complexity was relatively high."

The report on the results of the survey included:

  • Mature SOA Systems: 53 percent of deployed SOA applications span multiple departments, while more than 25 percent have extended their SOA applications to external users, such as partners and customers. Only 20 percent of deployed SOA applications are "single department" systems.
  • Cross Platform: 72 percent of respondents have SOA environments that involve platforms, including application servers, enterprise service buses (ESBs) and process managers from multiple vendors.
  • More than just Web services: 58 percent of enterprises include "non-SOAP" messaging, such as IBM MQ or Remote Method Invocation (RMI), in their SOA systems. Packaged applications such as SAP are included in 68 percent of SOA systems and 47 percent of SOA environments include mainframes.
  • Scalable Systems: Nearly half of the respondents with deployed SOA applications have more than 26 components in their SOA systems, 18 percent have more than 100 components and 10 percent have more than 250. Success rates were high for even large-scale SOA systems.

For more information
SOA 2007: Adoption steady, but tech squabbles exist

SOA after the hype

Acknowledging the skepticism a vendor survey receives, Horst notes that the survey reached a wider sample than just AmberPoint customers. Of the 330 respondents, 282 were not AmberPoint customers.

"We know our customers because they are our customers, but we were interested in looking at the market at large," he explained. "We surveyed a lot more people than AmberPoint customers, although AmberPoint customers were thrown in the mix, too."

One of the important results of the survey was an answer he didn't get from anyone regarding their SOA project.

"Nobody rated it a fiasco," he said.

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