I've talked about my latest article, ESB-Oriented Architecture. There is now a discussion thread on The Server Side: ESB-Oriented Architecture: The Wrong Approach to Integration. (The article's actual subtitle is "The wrong approach to adopting SOA.") Eugene Ciurana provides a nice accurate, helpful summary.
A lot of the discussion wonders off into issues like "is SOA just Web services?", but some of the discussion is on target. James Watson makes (what I find to be) the most useful comments:
- "Services can exist with out the web." -- Good point. I'm surprised this debate is still occurring.
- "One of the reasons I don't like to talk about SOA and prefer the term service orientation is that it's not completely clear what qualifies as SOA and what does not. Service orientation is easy to understand and probably more crucial." -- Another good point. Service orientation is easier to understand and is the main goal. Exactly what makes it into an architecture, and how SOA co-exists with other architectures, gets a bit more vague and debatable.
- "It's actually surprising to see someone from IBM writing the above. IBM tends to over-complicate everything. I always thought it was to get more consulting and support dollars." -- I agree, our products can be complex and difficult to use; we're working on improving that (see IBM Software Strategy and Product Overview and Jerry Cuomo on Project Zero). I also believe you usually need sophisticated tools to tackle difficult problems--a butter knife is no substitute when you need a chainsaw, a rowboat is no substitute for a submarine--and that IBM's product suite provides an unmatched level of support for tackling today's most difficult and most prevalent IT problems. Also, being in the services organization for the flagship set of middleware products (the WebSphere brand), I can assure you that our goal is to make our products both more powerful and easier to use so that we can help our clients increase their business value. IBM Software Group wants to make money from products, not services; we provide services to sell more product.
- "What I got from the article was not that ESBs are bad but that you should focus on building services first and foremost. If you are focusing on the ESB and not on the services it's like building a highway to nowhere." -- Yes, James gets it! (Making him what Stephen Colbert calls an "it getter"! :-) Note that I'm not saying I push ESBs, but rather that I find my clients asking me to focus on ESBs more than I think is a good idea. I'm obviously a huge proponent of ESBs (read my blog! read my book!), but they're a tool to enable integration and SOA; ESBs are not a business goal unto themselves.
I like Eugene's and James' intelligent discussion. Let's hope for more like it on the TSS thread.