IBM Launches SOA Repository

Catalog creates application library.

IBM is doing its part to advance the service-oriented architecture movement. The company announced June 14 its namesake SOA Business Catalog, a services repository of sorts that allows users to search for information on SOA services.

The searchable services are really a combination of software code, intellectual property and industry-based best practices culled from internal offerings—think WebSphere—and partner offerings. The catalog leads users to IBM and partner software that includes process templates, Web services, tools, adapters and integration instructions.

IBM anticipates that, by the end of this year, its SOA Business Catalog will include more than 3,000 services spanning more than 15 industries.

The SOA Business Catalog will link to IBMs WSRR (WebSphere Service Registry and Repository), which catalogs and stores Web services or software metadata for specific services. It also provides governance capabilities that help with the publication, discovery and management of services.

"IBMs SOA Business Catalog delivers on the promise of reusing IT components," said Sandy Carter, vice president of WebSphere and SOA at IBM, in Armonk, N.Y.

To date, the services available in IBMs SOA Business Catalog include process models for the financial services and insurance industries, as well as models for additional vertical industries. Theres also a WebSphere DataStage TX Industry Pack for HL7 that integrates health care industry-standard data formats with existing infrastructures and a QuickStart for WebSphere Enterprise Service Bus that helps architects develop and deploy an ESB (Enterprise Service Bus).

The IBM Information FrameWork process models for financial services allow users to analyze processes from both a technical and business perspective. The Insurance Application Architecture blueprint, on the other hand, lets users create specifications for IS architecture.

IBM isnt alone in developing a Web services repository. Major business applications vendors SAP and Oracle are also building out their own Web services registries that will catalog and store the services related to their software. Its still unclear, however, how the various services repositories from vendors will interoperate—or whether users will need to subscribe to a variety of repositories to be able to effectively create composite applications.

Despite the major focus of software vendors and service providers to build out SOA functionality over the past two years—the various SOA registries under way are a prime example—recent research suggests customer adoption and implementation of SOA is growing at a moderate pace, at best.

A report released June 8 by Saugatech Technology suggested that SOA adoption might be stalling in the short run as the transition from pilot projects to enterprisewide adoption slows. Saugatech points to two reasons that this could be happening: vendor sales efforts aimed at the CIO chain of command rather than the people on the business side of the house and confusing sales messages around SOA.

Another SOA report by Forrester Research, expected for release about July 1, takes an in-depth look at 53 early adopters of SOA to see what common technology building blocks were on the path to SOA. It then synthesizes the technologies into 11 entry points that represent business-led projects that can help take companies down the SOA path.

SOA: Pain or promise?

Here are 11 key areas for SOA applications:

  • Single sign-on
  • Internal self-service
  • External self-service
  • Operational dashboards
  • Business insight
  • Forecasting and planning
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Business process improvement
  • Shared services
  • Knowledge management and collaboration
  • Master data management

Source: Forrester Research report: "11 Entry Points to SOA for Packaged Applications: How to Create a Path to SOA in Enterprise Applications"