IBM is doing its part in furthering the service-oriented architecture movement. The company announced June 13 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—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 WSSR (WebSphere Service Registry and Repository) that 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,” Sandy Carter, vice president of WebSphere and SOA at IBM, said in a statement. “The ability to find and obtain detailed information on specific validated IBM and business partner assets—and reuse those assets time and again—will enable customers to use SOA to cut costs and increase revenue faster than developing individual IT services over and over again.”
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.
(IBMs Rational Process for User Experience Modeling 4.0 is included as a guide to help users develop, analyze, design and test models.)
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, enables users to create specifications for information systems architecture.
IBM partners that have validated services included in the SOA Business Catalog include Actuate Software, AdminServer, Alphinat, Argo, China Systems, Chordiant, Clear2Pay, Cognos, Cúram, eMeter, i2 Technologies, Ilog, ItemField, Lawson, Mincom, Napersoft, Nimaya, Research in Motion, SSA Global and TrueDemand.
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 based on a variety of services culled from different vendors.
: Slow Go”> Despite the major focus by IT 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 Research 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 this could be happening: vendor sales efforts aimed at the CIO chain of command, rather than the folks on the business side of the house, and confusing sales messages around SOA.
“SOA adoption—and its long-term market benefits—will continue to grow slowly (or potentially begin to lag) if SOA continues to be sold as an end objective,” writes Saugatech analysts Charlie Burns and Bruce Guptill. “Rather, SOA needs to be sold, and purchased, as a means to achieve an end. That end is restructuring the customer business process.”
Another SOA report by Forrester, expected for release around July 1, looks in-depth at 53 early adopters of SOA to see what common technology building blocks were on their 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.
The entry points are essentially areas of pain that both business and IT folks can look to, to package technology around, according to Forrester. They include 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, and master data management.
The bottom line, according to Ray Wang, lead analyst on the report, “11 Entry Points to SOA for Packaged Applications: How to Create a Path to SOA in Enterprise Applications,” is that early adopters are taking a cautious but calculated approach with SOA. “More importantly, customers have not yet decided on what middleware/application platform (e.g., SAPs NetWeaver, Oracles Fusion, IBMs WebSphere, Microsofts .Net) they plan to standardize on,” according to Wang.