The Role of Transformation Services in SOA
(Co-Authored by our newest analyst — John Reynolds) As organizations move forward with their Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) implementation plans, they often find themselves grappling with significant, long-lived problems of data and semantic integration among a wide variety of data sources. The mismatch between the data representation that one application provides and the data representation that another application expects forms the core of this long-lived problem. This data integration problem is particularly troublesome for SOA implementations because it limits the loose coupling between Service providers and consumers, unless there is an effective way to decouple the provider and consumer’s data representations. The need to access information of so many disparate types from so many disparate sources forms the semantic integration challenge that organizations must deal with today. Effective Service Composition Means Effective Semantic Integration What makes effective data and semantic integration a challenge is twofold: first, the…

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How SOA Transforms the Meaning of Legacy
To many technologists in the IT organization, the word “legacy” connotes a negative meaning, but not because the systems they are dealing with provide little value. Rather, on the contrary, these systems are of tremendous value to the organization, but interacting with them comes at such cost and with such complexity that little remains of this value to the organization. Sevice-Oriented Architecture (SOA) promises to turn this problem on its head. One of the most powerful concepts is the notion that a business can achieve true reuse of its assets through SOA, and thus achieve the flexiblity and agility it so desires. The whole idea of reuse is to get more value from what has originally been built. As such, the ideas of reuse and legacy are really one and the same thing! How can a company even hope to achieve any aspect of reuse if they are continually…

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Presentations from ZapThink’s Fifth SOA Practitioner’s Forum in Geneva, Switzerland
In this ZIP file, you will find the collection of presentations from ZapThink’s Fifth SOA Practitioner’s Forum in Geneva, Switzerland. Presentations include: Fundamental SOA Concepts – Ronald Schmelzer, ZapThink [E] SOA, Business Process, and BPM – Jean-Paul de Vooght, CTP [E] Real implementation cases of SOA – Malhar Kamdar, BEA [F] The ESB as SOA Infrastructure: Controlling SOA at Runtime – Claus Thoden, BEA [E] Measuring SOA Maturity and the Platform – Xavier Fournier-Morel, SQLi [F] Enterprise Web 2.0 – David McFarlane, Nexaweb [E] How to move your Legacy Host to SOA – Ido Hardonag, NetManage [E] SOA Architectural Deep Dive – Ron Schmelzer, ZapThink [E] The download is about 11 Megabytes, and you need to provide your permission to share contact information with event sponsors to download this file.[hide -1]Download File[/hide][hide +0]Register to Access this Document[/hide]…

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REST and Web Services: The ZapThink Take
Question: what do you call two or more architects in a room? Answer: an argument. Now that Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) is the topic du jour within many such rooms in enterprises today, one favorite argument is over Representational State Transfer (REST) and its relationship to Web Services. Many such discussions degenerate into a religious discussion over which approach is better, but as with most arguments in the SOA space, the reality is far more subtle. Up until now, ZapThink has been happy to stay on the sidelines of this battle, but the time has come for us to weigh in with the ZapThink take on the REST vs. Web Services debate. The Context for REST and Web Services This perennial debate centers on a core challenge of SOA: what is the best way to create a loosely-coupled Service interface? One approach is the style of distributed computing known as…

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RAX-J: Radically Improving the Processing of XML Applications
XML is rapidly becoming the protocol and format of choice for interactions among disparate systems and organizations connected via networks. More than a text-based, metadata format for data interoperability, XML is now the answer to solving many of the long-standing issues with application and data integration as well as providing a lingua franca for developers to create application programming interfaces (APIs) that arbitrary systems can interact with. Despite all the positive momentum that XML continues to garner in the enterprise, XML remains a highly inefficient and burdensome protocol to process. XML processing requires a dozen steps or more, including parsing, decryption, validation, and message transformation activities. This burdensome collection of tasks is increasingly bogging down systems with menial chores before they can even begin processing business logic. This paper aims to take the XML processing challenge one step further by suggesting that developers are the cause of many of…

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SOA for Independent Software Vendors (ISVs)
As Enterprise Architecture, Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) is particularly useful in large enterprises, and increasingly, to small and midsize businesses, as well. However, those are only one part of the IT ecosystem. What about those companies that are in the business of building and selling software products, so called independent software vendors (ISVs)? Generally speaking, ISVs create and sell software products that run on one or more IT platforms. ISVs might offer consulting services, but they typically aren’t consulting companies per se. Neither are they simply Value-Added Resellers (VARs) or Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), who embed or customize someone else’s products. Rather, ISVs sell their own intellectual property as installable, configurable software. The largest software vendors are responsible for the enterprise applications that we run, the operating systems we use, and the infrastructure platforms on top of which we conduct business — think IBM, Microsoft, SAP, Oracle, HP, and CA.

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StrikeIron: Taking the Complexity out of Service Consumption
The traditional route for most independent software or hardware vendors (ISVs) to differentiate their application functionality is to build or acquire functionality and then integrate it tightly into their own offerings. However, over time, this approach leads to substantial complexity and brittleness as customer requirements and business objectives change. The introduction of Web Services and Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) offers ISVs a new opportunity to add functionality to their offerings without having to build or acquire that technology and then go through a painful technology merging process. The ability to consume third-party Services that other vendors provide is a new capability that ISVs should explore as they continue to seek differentiation for their offerings. In this ZapNote, we explore the idea of embedding third-party Services within ISV offerings and how to do so without adding to their complexity. [hide -1]Download File[/hide][hide +0]Register to Access this…

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Service Orient or Be Doomed: ZapThink Analysts Announce Publication of their Latest Book!
Ever wonder why businesses are unable to keep up with today’s pace of change? Name your business goal–productivity, profitability, efficiency; today, they all depend on Information Technology (IT). IT is more important to business today than it ever was. While IT in the past has helped companies increasingly make their businesses more productive and efficient, today’s IT is simply getting in the way of change. It is increasingly becoming clear that the way that businesses utilize IT is increasingly making them less agile, less responsive to change, and less able to capitalize on new opportunities. Something has to be done to stop the problem of IT becoming the bottleneck of business. SERVICE ORIENT OR BE DOOMED! How Service Orientation will Change Your Business (Wiley, February 24, 2006;$39.95 cloth) is the first book aimed at regular businesspeople that helps business become more agile by offering technological, process, and cultural changes…

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Enabling Products & Standards
Presentation on the current state of the SOA market. This presentation covers: The State of the Market Introducing the SOAIF Security, Management & SOAIF WS Security Market Map Key Security/Policy Vendors Key Security/Policy Standards WS Management Market Map Key SOA Management Vendors Lifecycle/Governance/Metadata Key Management/Lifecycle Standards Arch., Devt. Tools & SOAIF SOA Tools Market Map App. Integration, Process & SOAIF SOP Market Map SO Integration/Process Key Vendors SO Integration/Process Standards The “Enterprise Service Bus” Lack of Convergence on ESB Meaning State of ESB Market Composite Application Key Vendors CurrentStateSOAPractice-Europe-022006-ZTP-0212-1…

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The Human in the Machine
In the late 1700s, a clever inventor built a mechanical device he called The Mechanical Turk that could play a mean game of chess. It was so good, in fact, that people such as Benjamin Franklin and Napoleon Bonaparte traveled to play the machine, only to lose to it. The Turk was certainly a curiosity of the day, since there were no computers, no microprocessors, hard drives, or networks to speak of. So, how did this curious device work? It turned out that it was all an elaborate hoax, with a chess master hiding inside the machine operating an intricate set of springs and magnets to move the mannequin attached to the device. Playing chess at the grandmaster level, of course, is extraordinarily difficult, and it was only in the last decade that computers surpassed the best human players in ability. Ironically, computers are still unable to perform other,…

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