Click here to close now.


API Journal Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Jason Bloomberg, Carmen Gonzalez, AppDynamics Blog

Related Topics: Recurring Revenue, Microservices Expo, IBM Cloud, Server Monitoring

Recurring Revenue: Blog Feed Post

When SOA Fails, Just SCA

What’s going on here?

There’s a lot of points that will be made in this blog entry.  To keep them straight, I will highlight them right up front:

  • Vendors are getting behind SCA because it reinforces a need for tools
  • The importance of architects in software development
  • Untested technologies are being pushed on IT like bad drugs from the FDA

So, in this morning’s email I received a notification from ActiveVOS that their CTO is a primary contributor to a new book recently released on Service Component Architecture (SCA).  Having just recently completed a full investigation into SCA, two things jumped out at me: 1) SCA is heavily being driven by the vendor community and 2) SCA breaks many of the rules of SOA that have been touted by these same vendors for the past 6 years.  For example, SCA rewards an implied contract versus a contract-first approach to service development.  That is, the contract is derived from the programming model versus defined by the architects.

What’s going on here?
My subjective opinion based on all the factors that I currently have at my disposal is that SCA is a step backwards in software engineering.  It’s an abandonment of the SOA principles that have failed because of lack of investment in proper architecture toward a pure programming model driven by software engineers.  Thus, the goal here is once again to allow poorly-designed systems to be built by software engineers with very little architecture experience so they can claim to have some attributes of SOA.  Moreover, SCA is heavily dependent upon tools for creation and management.  This is a game-changer from applications that be developed with a good ‘ole EMACS editor and a command-line compiler.  Starting to get the picture?

I recently was sent an email by a software engineer on one of my projects claiming that based on their experiences over the past year with J2EE and BPEL that this is the way that they would build all their applications.  Unfortunately, the requirements for the application their on call for pure workflow management, not integration.  Which leads me to my next point, all software needs to be properly designed by an architect.  Software engineers build, architects design.  Architects should have a much wider berth of experience implementing and supporting various solutions using various technologies in a multitude of environments.  Having accomplished the latter, one learns the reality of taking any concept from paper to production.  Unfortunately, in many organizations, the developers are not forced to participate in operational support and are never privy to the impact of their bad decisions.

Additionally, tools vendors are blurring the line between form and function of various technologies and standards.  BPEL is a great example.  First off, BPEL 1.0 barely supported a plausible B2B integration scenario, and now BPEL 2.0, barely out of the starting gate, is the uber platform for all BPM, SOI, Integration and workflow?  Come on, let’s use our heads here.  At best, this standard is in its infancy and hardly appropriate for development and delivery of production systems.  Still, we have pundits discussing how XPDL lost the battle to BPEL (, which is a bold claim considering the WfMC is currently working on BPMN into XPDL compliance.  Then we give this information to software engineers and ask them to make architecture decisions based on it and we wonder why the CEO thinks IT is a bunch of backwards yahoos and the Cloud and outsourcing looks like the answer out of dumbass alley.

Finally, and this distresses me the most, we have a growing number of software engineers, like the one I discussed earlier, that become entrenched in understanding how to work with these tools and technologies, become ideological about them and reject alternative methods and approaches to the detriment of the software and solutions they are building.  What’s more is that these software engineers work to undermine alternative opinions and slur engineers and architects who do not agree with this approach.   For the past few years, we have seen this with Spring and Hibernate, and will begin to see this more and more with BPEL and SCA as it gains in momentum as pushed by the vendors.  Perhaps the reason Microsoft has never been threatened by the Java community is that they can see these vendors and engineers are cannibalizing each other through layers of complexity to the point where Microsoft’s .NET simplicity looks attractive.

If I Was An IT Manager I Would…
So, if I was an IT Manager, Chief Architect, CIO, CTO for a mid- to large-sized business today, here’s the things that would be on my checklist to ensure that the systems that I was building today were maintainable, sustainable and reliable:

1.  Enterprise architecture – I would ensure that all applications in my portfolio were being rationalized with the needs of the business as a whole and not a single group of users.  The latter is a bottom-up tactical approach that eats at the IT budget and limits the ability to design for the needs of the business as a whole.  While they are difficult to avoid building, they act like parasites sucking the IT budget from a support and maintenance perspective limiting the opportunity to build software that will propel the business forward.

2.  Chief Architect – I would put a single solution architect in charge of all the software that is being built.  This person would rationalize the product and tools being used based on reliable, tested technologies, not the latest fad.  This person would also provide objective, not ideological direction with regard to technology selection.  Many businesses today are still asking Java vs. .NET.  The reason for this is that .NET offers some very powerful solutions and allows for rapid application development that can be deployed on Linux boxes using Mono if that is desirable.  However, the Java bigots aren’t really open to having their skills made invalid by selection of C# and .NET platform.  It’s like offering a natural, homeopathic cure in the face of a big pharmaceutical company or a cross in the face of a vampire; these things cause mortal wounds, hence, you cannot allow them to control the choice.

3. Get the vendors out your organization.  A recent blog entry by the CEO of WSO2 listed the current Oracle suite in the gigabytes, this is not expressing the virtues of KISS.  Vendors’ product suites are bloated, costly and in many ways proprietary.  Developing distributed systems is complex, but can be made simpler by reducing the number of moving parts.  The number of artifacts required to develop a SCA application is double to triple compared to the number of artifacts to create the same application using SpringWS.  A properly-designed SOA reduces complexity, while these supposed SOA tools increase complexity significantly.  Vendors know you are desperate for resources and will take advantage of this fact today ultimately locking you into a product selection that will be extremely costly to back out of in the future.

In Conclusion
Ultimately, the rubber needs to meet the road, and work needs to get done.  The recommendations I make above are subject to the biases of the individuals and their experiences, but this too can be mitigated (to a degree).  The CAEAP has an oath of professional conduct that if adhered to by the professional will lead to the best decision, even if that decision is not the preferred one of the architect.  IT resources–specifically engineers and programmers–make their living based on their skills; the more their skills are in demand the greater the value and the more money that can be earned.  Businesses would do well to stop hiring resources based on individual technology skills (except if you’re hiring a consultant, because that’s what you’re buying) and start hiring based on the individual’s ability to think your business to success.

Years ago, mid-80’s, when I was interviewing for positions, businesses used to take pride in testing how programmers thought about problem solving, today, they look for buzzwords.  Which brings us back to SCA.  It won’t be long till these three letters start showing up on resumes.  Will your organization succumb to the pressure to use a tools-oriented approach to developing inferior networked applications that will need to redesigned and redeveloped in a few years, or will you avoid the peer-pressure sand trap this time and continue working toward a properly designed solution that will carry your company forward?

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By JP Morgenthal

JP Morgenthal is an internationally renowned thought leader in the areas of IT transformation, modernization, and cloud computing. JP has served in executive roles within major software companies and technology startups. Areas of expertise include strategy, architecture, application development, infrastructure and operations, cloud computing, DevOps, and integration. He routinely advises C-level executives on the best ways to use technology to derive business value. JP is a published author with four trade publications with his most recent being “Cloud Computing: Assessing the Risks”. JP holds both a Masters and Bachelors of Science in Computer Science from Hofstra University.

@ThingsExpo Stories
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data shows "less than 10 percent of IoT developers are making enough to support a reasonably sized team....
Just over a week ago I received a long and loud sustained applause for a presentation I delivered at this year’s Cloud Expo in Santa Clara. I was extremely pleased with the turnout and had some very good conversations with many of the attendees. Over the next few days I had many more meaningful conversations and was not only happy with the results but also learned a few new things. Here is everything I learned in those three days distilled into three short points.
DevOps is about increasing efficiency, but nothing is more inefficient than building the same application twice. However, this is a routine occurrence with enterprise applications that need both a rich desktop web interface and strong mobile support. With recent technological advances from Isomorphic Software and others, rich desktop and tuned mobile experiences can now be created with a single codebase – without compromising functionality, performance or usability. In his session at DevOps Summit, Charles Kendrick, CTO and Chief Architect at Isomorphic Software, demonstrated examples of com...
As organizations realize the scope of the Internet of Things, gaining key insights from Big Data, through the use of advanced analytics, becomes crucial. However, IoT also creates the need for petabyte scale storage of data from millions of devices. A new type of Storage is required which seamlessly integrates robust data analytics with massive scale. These storage systems will act as “smart systems” provide in-place analytics that speed discovery and enable businesses to quickly derive meaningful and actionable insights. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Paul Turner, Chief Marketing Officer at...
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Campaign, explored the key ingredients of cross-channel marketing in a digital world. Learn how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects).
The Internet of Everything is re-shaping technology trends–moving away from “request/response” architecture to an “always-on” Streaming Web where data is in constant motion and secure, reliable communication is an absolute necessity. As more and more THINGS go online, the challenges that developers will need to address will only increase exponentially. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Todd Greene, Founder & CEO of PubNub, exploreed the current state of IoT connectivity and review key trends and technology requirements that will drive the Internet of Things from hype to reality.
Two weeks ago (November 3-5), I attended the Cloud Expo Silicon Valley as a speaker, where I presented on the security and privacy due diligence requirements for cloud solutions. Cloud security is a topical issue for every CIO, CISO, and technology buyer. Decision-makers are always looking for insights on how to mitigate the security risks of implementing and using cloud solutions. Based on the presentation topics covered at the conference, as well as the general discussions heard between sessions, I wanted to share some of my observations on emerging trends. As cyber security serves as a fou...
We all know that data growth is exploding and storage budgets are shrinking. Instead of showing you charts on about how much data there is, in his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Scott Cleland, Senior Director of Product Marketing at HGST, showed how to capture all of your data in one place. After you have your data under control, you can then analyze it in one place, saving time and resources.
With all the incredible momentum behind the Internet of Things (IoT) industry, it is easy to forget that not a single CEO wakes up and wonders if “my IoT is broken.” What they wonder is if they are making the right decisions to do all they can to increase revenue, decrease costs, and improve customer experience – effectively the same challenges they have always had in growing their business. The exciting thing about the IoT industry is now these decisions can be better, faster, and smarter. Now all corporate assets – people, objects, and spaces – can share information about themselves and thei...
The cloud. Like a comic book superhero, there seems to be no problem it can’t fix or cost it can’t slash. Yet making the transition is not always easy and production environments are still largely on premise. Taking some practical and sensible steps to reduce risk can also help provide a basis for a successful cloud transition. A plethora of surveys from the likes of IDG and Gartner show that more than 70 percent of enterprises have deployed at least one or more cloud application or workload. Yet a closer inspection at the data reveals less than half of these cloud projects involve production...
Continuous processes around the development and deployment of applications are both impacted by -- and a benefit to -- the Internet of Things trend. To help better understand the relationship between DevOps and a plethora of new end-devices and data please welcome Gary Gruver, consultant, author and a former IT executive who has led many large-scale IT transformation projects, and John Jeremiah, Technology Evangelist at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), on Twitter at @j_jeremiah. The discussion is moderated by me, Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions.
Discussions of cloud computing have evolved in recent years from a focus on specific types of cloud, to a world of hybrid cloud, and to a world dominated by the APIs that make today's multi-cloud environments and hybrid clouds possible. In this Power Panel at 17th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the importance of customers being able to use the specific technologies they need, through environments and ecosystems that expose their APIs to make true change and transformation possible.
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
Microservices are a very exciting architectural approach that many organizations are looking to as a way to accelerate innovation. Microservices promise to allow teams to move away from monolithic "ball of mud" systems, but the reality is that, in the vast majority of organizations, different projects and technologies will continue to be developed at different speeds. How to handle the dependencies between these disparate systems with different iteration cycles? Consider the "canoncial problem" in this scenario: microservice A (releases daily) depends on a couple of additions to backend B (re...
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound effect on the world, and what should we expect to see over the next couple of years.
Container technology is shaping the future of DevOps and it’s also changing the way organizations think about application development. With the rise of mobile applications in the enterprise, businesses are abandoning year-long development cycles and embracing technologies that enable rapid development and continuous deployment of apps. In his session at DevOps Summit, Kurt Collins, Developer Evangelist at, examined how Docker has evolved into a highly effective tool for application delivery by allowing increasingly popular Mobile Backend-as-a-Service (mBaaS) platforms to quickly crea...
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Day 2 Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, wil...
PubNub has announced the release of BLOCKS, a set of customizable microservices that give developers a simple way to add code and deploy features for realtime apps.PubNub BLOCKS executes business logic directly on the data streaming through PubNub’s network without splitting it off to an intermediary server controlled by the customer. This revolutionary approach streamlines app development, reduces endpoint-to-endpoint latency, and allows apps to better leverage the enormous scalability of PubNub’s Data Stream Network.
Apps and devices shouldn't stop working when there's limited or no network connectivity. Learn how to bring data stored in a cloud database to the edge of the network (and back again) whenever an Internet connection is available. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Ben Perlmutter, a Sales Engineer with IBM Cloudant, demonstrated techniques for replicating cloud databases with devices in order to build offline-first mobile or Internet of Things (IoT) apps that can provide a better, faster user experience, both offline and online. The focus of this talk was on IBM Cloudant, Apache CouchDB, and ...