The new developerWorks Architecture Zone features a column, "Insight and outlook."
The Insight and outlook column is where "IBM technical leaders answer pressing questions about IT architecture." The topic of the first column: Why should you care about SOA, and when is it the right choice and when is it the wrong choice?
The question is answered by eleven of IBM's leading thinkers, including two IBM Fellows, Grady Booch and Don Ferguson. The other contributors are leaders in IBM's efforts to help customers with SOA. In there somewhere is even a contribution by me, "The good, the bad, and when to be careful." (Scroll down to the bottom of the article!)
I'm amused that I'm the only contributor that talks about technical details like service orientation and distributed objects, interfaces and security. Most of the others talk about aligning IT with business objectives, open standards, how SOA is not just Web services (JaBoWS), and an emerging favorite whipping boy--service governance. Guess I still think like a programmer; I work with the people who are having difficulty making it all work. Perhaps that's why I'm the only contributor who talked about not only when to use SOA, but when not too.
Anyway, I hope the column will help to give you a better idea of what this SOA stuff is all about. Enjoy.
BTW, we'd like feedback on the column: What you think of the question itself, of the various answers in general, and of my answer specifically. If you have some thoughts, positive or critical (but constructive), please add a comment here or shoot me an e-mail. Thanks.