Friday, January 16, 2009

The Zen of SOA

I just read a great review of a new book on Slashdot. The review was written by a guy named Alex Roussekov:

The book "Zen of SOA" by Tom Termini introduces an original view to the challenging world of SOA. He refers to the Zen philosophy as a "therapeutic device" helping SOA practitioners to get rid of prejudices and opinions in order to apply a clear mind-set based on real-life experiences and the application of technology knowledge. Each chapter of the book is prefaced by Zen Truism that the author suggests to "revisit, reflect on it longer, and see if you are able to establish a truth from the narrative, as well as from your own experiences."

In fact, the book is about a SOA Blueprint outlining a methodology for building a successful SOA strategy. The target audience is C-level Executives, IT Managers and Enterprise Architects undertaking or intending to undertake adoption of SOA throughout their organizations. I strongly recommend the book to all SOA practitioners involved in implementation of SOA." Read below for the rest of Alexander's review.

The author's vision is based on extensive experience in the SOA arena and he elegantly leads and prepares the reader for the introduction of his SOA Blueprint approach. I personally enjoyed reflecting on the Zen conundrums which stimulated me to focus and understand the content.

In Chapter 1 the author explains SOA as both Business and Technical Concept and the main challenges it tackles from different stakeholder perspectives. He also emphasizes some misconceptions and technology myths about Web Services and ESB which are key enablers but do not represent a holistic view of SOA.

Chapter 2 elaborates on using the SOA Best Practices as a critical success factor for maximizing an organization's potential and improving performance. The author recommends an Incremental Approach to the SOA Implementation. This is supported by a comprehensive Case Study with the US Federal Trade Commission client.

Chapter 3 gives a technology view of SOA. The author covers a number of SOA technology components, their capabilities and positioning within the SOA technology stack including Portal, ESB, Service Registry/Repository, Business Rules and Enterprise Search Engines.

In Chapter 4 — the concept of "Future-Proof" is defined by the author and his team as "architecting to be highly available, reliable, and easy to manage."The future-proofing is an inherent quality factor with technological and cultural aspects which need to be achieved throughout the overall SOA Lifecycle. The author suggests that "a pilot, or proof-of-concept, presented in advance of implementation and deployment, can convincingly demonstrate the ability of the architecture to validate the business intent".

Chapter 5 presents the author's rationale for an incremental approach to SOA implementation. The main point is that the contemporary business dynamic creates a myriad of competitive pressures which impose significant risks, whereas an incremental approach shields the business from the SOA implementation demands and helps to accommodate the changes and utilize the benefits.

Chapter 6 "The SOA Blueprint" is the essence of the book. It is a "set of guidelines for the practical business deployment of services using SOA methods in a moderately sized, somewhat complex organization".

The author has used the OASIS' reference models for SOA as a foundation framework. The Blueprint is also consistent with well defined and recognized methodologies such as TOGAF and Zachman. For example, the Blueprint artifacts fit well in the taxonomy of the Zachman Architectural Framework and they can be mapped to corresponding activities in the TOGAF ADM.

Chapter 7 provides practical guidance and recommendations related to the context of the SOA Blueprint. The author puts the focus on Standardization, Business Customer Perspective of Services, Risk Mitigation Strategy as well as technical aspects such as Data Integration, Service Orchestration, Security and Metadata.

Finally, Chapter 8 offers a checklist with a number of items required for the customization of the SOA Blueprint. The author provides both item definitions and procedural guidance.Tom Termini shares deep expertise and knowledge gained by hard work on numerous SOA projects for government and private sector clients.

His examples of real business value achieved can be traced in the case studies described in the book. Each case study is related to a particular SOA "koan" and comes with the description of the business context, approach, solution and the business benefits obtained as a result.The Zen of SOA is a concise, readable and very well illustrated book which provides practical advice, guidance and immediate impetus for development of SOA Implementation Strategy, Vision, Roadmap.

1 comment:

  1. wow, just the thing to teach me about "architectural cohesion" and "cyclomatic complexity"