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The new breed of software vendor, the SOAsaurus Rex

Michael Meehan discusses the rapid acquistions in the SOA industry and looking towards the future of Web services.

In the wake of Software AG's purchase of webMethods and Iona Technologies' acquisition of LogicBlaze, ran articles last week about the shrinking number of vendors in the SOA space and how vendor consolidation will affect SOA innovation.

It's no hyperbole to note that SOA is in a period of rapid evolution, acquisition mania was one of our top stories of the year in 2006 and the result, increasingly, is the emergence of some extremely large and predatory vendors in what had just a few years ago been a landscape dotted by smaller, more social vendors. This week we'll kick off our news coverage with a story looking into how Microsoft, which has been notable in not gobbling up smaller vendors in this space, is putting its own spin on Web services, software as a service and all things Web 2.0. We'll follow that up with news about Oracle, BEA Systems and IBM.

As we often note here, SOA is not one thing, but rather a collection of concepts like loose coupling and modularity brought together in an effort to redesign how IT works. It means that these megavendors will be constantly trotting out new and updated functionality as part of their services design, services governance and services monitoring initiatives. The overwhelming majority of users aren't starting SOA from a greenfield, so the vendor offerings are looking to cover dozens of bases in order to capture customers wherever they may be looking to initiate an SOA project.

There are those who argue the megavendors will grow so large they become obsolete, but in the meantime expect a near constant flow of SOA-tinged announcements coming from those megavendors.

For those of you interested in vendor-free takes on SOA, check out our recent columns on SOA and the core competency model, data interchange issues for SOA and why quantity of services in no measure of SOA maturity.

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