Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Balanced Views of SOA

I hate adding new terms, but I think we're hurting ourselves by constantly overloading the term SOA. IMHO, we would be better off if we formalized the "The Balanced Views of SOA". By "views" I'm referring to the old "4+1" type concept, see: or

Premise: SOA is a collection of techniques which can be understood by observing a solution set from several different vantage points, or Views. The views can be divided into three primary categories:
1. Service Portfolio Views
2. Individual Service Views
3. Consumer-Service Views

The Service Portfolio Views focus on treating services as business assets residing in a portfolio. The role that most likely uses this view is the Enterprise Architect. Example views might include:
Business Priority View, Service Pipeline View, Process View, Portfolio Investment View, Consolidation/Rationalization View, Information Model, etc. These views help in the prioritization and planning process and to keep things organized (think Metropolis).

Individual Service Views focus on describing a single service. This view is most likely used by analysts, developers and testers to create a new service. Example views might include: Service Interface View, Service-Component View, Service-Deployment View, etc. Note that these views most closely resemble the traditional 4+1 concepts.

Consumer-Service Views focus on describing the relationship between services and the consumers (at plan-time, design-time, provision-time and run-time). The roles that would leverage these views include SOA administrators, product managers and configuration managers. Example views might include: Consumer/Service Dependency View, Policy Views, SLA Views, etc. These views help people to keep composite solutions from breaking due to incompatible versions, capacity problems, etc.


The power of SOA is that it is the first model that crosses these three areas. It has been my observation that the companies that balance these three broad views of SOA are the most successful.

Is SOA "predominantly an enterprise architectural style"? Well, it sure is if you're an enterprise architect! I understand that the evangelists in this group want to push the importance of the Service Portfolio Views. But, I'm going to pull a "Mark Baker" and become religious about the "Balanced Views of SOA" - that's my New Year's Resolution :-)

=== This is a repost from the Yahoo SOA Group

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