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SOA a big deal for IBM and HP

IBM and HP this week will both be making news in the SOA arena, which has increasingly become a battleground for these two IT titans.

IBM and HP are locked in a war these days to see who the biggest IT company on the planet can be and service-oriented architecture has become a major battlefield. Both companies are looking to crack the $100 billion mark in annual revenues this year and this week both will be pitching the latest in their SOA programs.

IBM has long been on the SOA bandwagon. In fact it could be argued that IBM invented the SOA bandwagon. SOA is now infused throughout IBM's software platform. Its WebSphere, Tivoli and Rational lines literally ooze SOA from every pore. Behind the software, IBM has an army of Global Services consultants. Sometimes it's argued that IBM's software portfolio is so vast you need an army of Global Services consultants to make sense of it, but no one accuses Big Blue of having a half-hearted commitment to SOA. The resources it's put into service orientation are nothing short of massive.

The one thing IBM's big bet on SOA has done is give it a broader business perspective on SOA. It views service orientation as a chance to transform your business, not just to get some new licensing revenue streams. This week Big Blue has gathered scads of current and would be customers in Orlando, Florida for a three-day SOA event. That's some serious stroke and IBM should be laying out the next steps in its SOA roadmap during the initial stages of the conference.

HP leapt into the midst of the SOA fray last year when it acquired Mercury Interactive, which had just a few months earlier swallowed up the Systinet SOA registry line. Suddenly HP had an SOA management story to tell based around OpenView, Mercury's lifecycle management and Systinet's SOA governance framework. Like IBM, HP has also invested significant consulting resources into SOA. It may not have quite the software portfolio of Big Blue, but it clearly has no intention of ceding this arena to its top competitor.

It will also be laying the next pieces of its SOA roadmap this week, via teleconference in this instance.

Last week we had interviews dealing with SAP's SOA initiatives and Sun Microsystem's SOA plans. These companies aren't dabbling either. They are making SOA a centerpiece in their software businesses.

Of course, there is the familiar refrain that SOA is not something you buy, it's something you do and last week we ran column by ZapThink's Ron Schmelzer which noted that many folks in the IT universe seemingly would rather spend money on a fad than modify their thinking.

It's a strange world indeed when vendors are embracing concepts like modularity and interoperability more easily than users. Perhaps this week's announcements from the two leviathans at the top of the IT food chain will win over a new batch of converts. Guaranteed, IBM and HP aren't building these enormous SOA programs on a lark.

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