The Migration Path to Services Oriented Architecture

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Featuring: Janelle Hill, Program Director, Integration & Development Practice, META Group

 

Janelle B. Hill is the Program Director for Integration and Development Practice at the META Group. She has over 20 years of IT experience and is an industry expert on software infrastructure. She has held both technical and management roles in software architecture, database development, IT operations, and product marketing and sales. As lead middleware analyst for MetaGroup, she advises user and vendor clients on the evaluation, selection and implementation of middleware products such as EAI, BPM Suites, and Application Servers, market trends, competitor analysis, Web services standards and trends, SOA best practices, and strategies for building an adaptive infrastructure to enable business agility. Business Process Management (BPM) was once referred to as workflow or process automation. Now it has evolved into a suite of inter-related, standards-based components. This rapidly evolving set of technologies is the primary vehicle by which current application portfolios will transition to Services Oriented Architecture based on Web services, paving the way to increased business integration and agility and providing significant business value.Janelle told me her talk would be a fairly technical discussion that covers technology migration used to integrate disparate applications both within and outside the firewall. Until lately, the applications that do this have been fairly proprietary. Now the technology is becoming a standards-based stack that is merging with what was previously considered as human workflow and document management, which were separate silos. She will discuss the market trends of this converged stack of technology now called Business Process Management Suites, and why it is a critical piece of technology to help user organizations migrate their existing applications portfolios to Web services oriented application architectures to increase flexibility in their applications and enable the business to become more adaptive.Janelle told me these suites are available from most vendors now. They all appear to be standards-based and look much alike on paper. Janelle said that we are so early into this market that the mix is still 90% vendors and 10% buyers. The greater part of the market is waiting to see if there is a shake-out or a direction that will make the choice easier.According to Janelle, this is a big mistake. As difficult as it is to pick a trend or a winning package, the bigger mistake is not doing anything. "You can't really wait," Janelle said. "You have to pick somebody's. If you want to start migrating your application portfolio it doesn't really matter whose technology you pick. What matters is that you begin the migration." Open standards ensures that even if your vendor choice goes belly up in two years, most of what you have done can be migrated elsewhere. "The most important thing about my talk is that it will provide guidance to users on the migration path towards Web services, standards-based application architecture," she said, adding that she will also share the best practices for the path and show what others are doing, including Web services adoption trends and patterns. She will also give her insights into handicapping the vendors, giving attendees the best bets for making a good vendor selection.

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