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Integration + governance = SOA?

Michael Meehan discusses the two most important initiatives inside SOA development.

One of my colleagues tossed out the shorthand "integration + governance = SOA" the other day and I quite liked it. Obviously that's not the whole ball of wax that is service-oriented architecture, but it does identify the two most pressing initiatives inside SOA development.

For this entire decade, IT shops have recognized they've got an integration problem. We talk a lot about loose coupling, interoperability and modularity these days, but it all gets back to building integrated services, or at least services that can be integrated. There's a lot to talk about far flung topics in the SOA universe and sometimes simple messages can get lost in the shuffle.

One of the core best practices for SOA that probably can't be stated often enough is think integration first. If you make sure the things you build can interact with the rest of the world then, no matter what you build, you've increased your opportunities. Siloed applications limit your business. They prohibit innovation and synergy.

Last week we had an expert tip from Maja Tibbling, lead enterprise architect at Con-Way Inc., about simplifying the complexity of SOA with an ESB. Her main point was to think broadly about integration, to have it work alongside everything you do inside your SOA. This week we'll be looking into the progress that's been made in open source integration.

On the governance side of the equation, today we'll have a story about how Iona Technologies has branched out from its integration roots to build a registry/repository for SOA governance. IBM made the same leap last year while BEA Systems bought the Flashline repository to work alongside the Systinet/HP registry that it OEMs. Adding a strong governance story to integration tools has become a must for anyone wishing to call themselves an SOA vendor.

For those of you looking to build governance into your SOA, there's our Architecture of Governance lesson. We'll also have stories this week on SOA best practices recommendations from the Object Management Group's SOA Consortium and on blending SOA efforts on the IT side with Six Sigma directives from the business side.

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