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Re: [ontolog-forum] The Open Group SOA Ontology

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Cc: c.harding@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: Ed Barkmeyer <edbark@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 16 Jul 2008 11:25:13 -0400
Message-id: <487E12D9.7090701@xxxxxxxx>
Ravi Sharma wrote:
> SOA deals with all three at least, namely - Business - Information
> (applications and data) and Technical services to cater to the whole
> enterprise. The business services are catering to business components
> that can be grouped into business functions. Example of technical
> service is a web-service for message delivery or for notification or
> service for network related management, security services, etc.    (01)

This is the hype version of SOA, whose purpose is to sell webservice 
implementations (read: "new software technology") to management, and 
allow a bunch of pundits to sell books and "newspapers".    (02)

The services that we know how to implement with software, and the only 
ones that are really implemented, are all relatively simple technical 
services that are pure information technology.  There are two major 
exceptions to this:
  - financial services -- because they are *entirely* information 
technology (there hasn't been any substance there since the G7/8 went 
off specie-backed currency, and the requirement for specie reserve 
affects only financial policy, not financial transactions)
  - media (books, newspapers, music, video) -- because they are now also 
entirely information technology (even though they are still evolving the 
business practices to deal with the fact that there is no longer a need 
for any physical media to change hands)    (03)

Business management in general isn't going to invest much in yet another 
software networking technology -- we have had our 3 strikes.  So the SOA 
folk have to say "business", even though what they can envisage never 
gets out of the .com think of 10 years ago.    (04)

Ken Laskey got it right:
> I find it useful to differentiate between a business service and a SOA
> service.  Business services are described in the more traditional
> sense of providing a business function, yes with predictable business
> outcomes, i.e. real world effects.
That is, there is some material or labor involved in changing the state 
of the physical world.  The software itself does not do that.  It could 
conceivably control devices that do such things, but the real-time 
control community has had functional distributed systems technologies 
for at least 15 years, and doesn't need the high-overhead re-invention 
that is SOA technology.  And unsurprisingly, the same is largely true of 
the finance industry and, more recently, of some highly visible elements 
of the media business.    (05)

> A SOA service is an IT artifact that *may* be an effective way to
> realize that business function.    (06)

Specifically, when that function can be fulfilled solely by the 
communication of information.    (07)

>  Conversely, SOA will be inappropriate
> and have no role in certain business functions.    (08)

Even though these functions can be implemented as "business services", 
like building maintenance.    (09)

Thanks, Ken.    (010)

-Ed    (011)

P.S. I should say that this takes nothing away from the TOG and OASIS 
work in producing clear models of the complex distributed systems 
concepts that are now called SOA.  Such models will be of great value in 
educating the technologists of the next decade.  And with luck, they 
will stop the recurring reinvention of this wheel and the re-learning 
that that makes necessary.  I just think responsible technologists 
should separate the wheat from the marketing chaff when dealing with a 
technical audience.    (012)

Edward J. Barkmeyer                        Email: edbark@xxxxxxxx
National Institute of Standards & Technology
Manufacturing Systems Integration Division
100 Bureau Drive, Stop 8263                Tel: +1 301-975-3528
Gaithersburg, MD 20899-8263                FAX: +1 301-975-4694    (013)

"The opinions expressed above do not reflect consensus of NIST,
  and have not been reviewed by any Government authority."    (014)

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