Sunday, October 30, 2005

SOA Boot Camp: Days 14, 15, 16 & 17

It's done. Thank God - boot camp is done.

17 days of training seemed like a lot and it was. My friends were joking that I wasn't trying to train the consultants - I was trying to brain wash them. Well - perhaps I was. But it was great for them to hear different views of the same story from so many different people. By the end of the boot camp we had almost 20 different instructors participate. I really need to thank Hjalmer, Melissa, Stephen and Alex for supporting the effort. They did everything from booking hotel, air, car to making sure we got fed - to validating content. I couldn't be happier with the team effort.

Well - the boot camp ended just as strong as it had begun. We were lucky enough to have Sam Boonin from Cisco present the AON vision. I must admit that Cisco has the unique ability to make a complex topic seem simple. Their proposition for relocating functionality from the application layer to the network layer is profound. Naturally, we pushed them a bit on the standards support which was less than what we'd hoped, but it was clear that it was in Cisco's best interest to move the standards forward and that they were on the right path.

And if the Cisco vision wasn't big enough - we followed it up with Microsoft. Our discussion started with a history lesson (COM, DCOM, remoting, WSE, Indigo, WCF) and quickly led into the next generation tools. We went over the new white boarding capabilities in Visual Studio (formerly White Horse) and then was briefed on BizTalk orchestration (and next-gen human workflow). It is clear the Microsoft will be an on-going leader in the SOA space.

We were also lucky to have Peter Yared and his crew from Active Grid talk to us about their next generation tools. His team has done an amazing job of enabling software developers to be productive in no time at all. Peter also made it clear that the 'service oriented' design center was core to his product road map.

The last vendor session was on the SAP ESA story. Our own Scott Campbell presented the SAP vision for service enabling EVERYTHING. SAP is breaking away from their past of being only a packaged application solutions provider. With NetWeaver they are pushing infrastructure (Java, Portals, etc.) and are doing it all with an SOA facade.

And naturally we went back and covered the basics - even managed to get a bit of BPEL coding in. Boot camps are a ton of effort - but at the end, you feel good about what you've accomplished - and you've made a bunch of friends. We passed out boot camp tee-shirts - and headed home to see if our wives still loved us. I declared it a success. We've opened up additional SOA consulting positions and have scheduled the next boot camp for the 2nd week of January.

SOA Soldiers Wanted - the weak need not apply.

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