Enterprise Software

Survey: SOA delivering; SOAP out, REST in

Joe McKendrick says the gist of a new survey on the state of SOA is that there is a major shift taking place underneath SOA efforts. SOA is rapidly evolving to embrace new ways of working, such as REST.

 

This is a guest post from Joe McKendrick of TechRepublic's sister site ZDNet. You can follow Joe on his ZDNet blog Service Oriented, or subscribe to the RSS feed.

The ground under SOA -- long solid SOAP territory -- appears to be shifting to more lightweight service approaches. A new survey of 270 business professionals, just released by InformationWeek, finds that one out of four have moved into service oriented architecture, and many are opting more lightweight approaches such as REST over SOAP.

The survey found that 23% of respondents say that their organizations have deployed a SOA, and seven percent report that the resulting systems are available for external use. Twenty-nine percent are experimenting or in development, while 31% have no plans. This is in line with other surveys I have been involved with or seen over the past two to three years -- suggesting that the practice remains confined to about one out of four companies.

SOAP is out, REST is in when it comes to the protocols being deployed as part of SOA. When asked to indicate their past, present, and estimated future use of SOAP-based Web services vs. REST-based Web services, respondents show a marked drop-off in use of SOAP, from 54% a year ago to a projected 42% in the next 18 months. The number primarily using or considering REST-based Web services is predicted to grow by a proportional amount, from 14% to 24% over the same time frame.

Respondents are fairly bullish on their SOA efforts. Forty-one percent said they have achieved the results expected, while 13% say their SOA efforts have surpassed expectations. Twelve percent said they have been disappointed by SOA. (The remaining 34% say they have not gotten far enough with SOA to make a determination.)

While respondents see potential business benefits from SOA down the road, there hasn't been a lot of progress in one of its most touted benefits -- service reuse or sharing. InformationWeek reports that the percentage of overall software reuse within organizations was only marginally higher after initiating SOA, with a 32% reuse rate cited before the SOA project versus 39% after.

There's evidence of the issue that has been dogging SOA in recent times -- the survey found that the major reason respondents who aren't evaluating or implementing SOA cite for not pursuing the initiative is a lack of a viable business case-43% say it's because SOA initiatives have developed a reputation for overpromising and underdelivering.

The report also suggested there is a lack of governance as part of many SOA implementations, but no survey data is cited in the article.

The gist of the survey report is that there is a major shift taking place underneath of SOA efforts. SOA is not "dying," as suggested, but rapidly evolving to embrace new ways of working, such as REST. And, while there is much discussion in the business IT community of SOA's ongoing "failures," this survey (as well as previous surveys) say those organizations working with SOA are satisfied with the results so far.

4 comments
mpjoshi
mpjoshi

I don't believe it is as simple as 'SOAP is out, REST is in'. One could only wish life was as black and white. I've blogged about some of the considerations for choosing between SOAP and REST. http://blogs.oracle.com/SOAandEDA/ Comments on my blog are most welcome!

Justin James
Justin James

"While respondents see potential business benefits from SOA down the road, there hasn?t been a lot of progress in one of its most touted benefits ? service reuse or sharing. InformationWeek reports that the percentage of overall software reuse within organizations was only marginally higher after initiating SOA, with a 32% reuse rate cited before the SOA project versus 39% after." Without reuse, I would argue that it isn't "SOA", just another abstraction layer. The *entire point* of SOA is reuse! Otherwise, why bother? J.Ja

kenr
kenr

While I accept the goal of reuse as being important, I've always viewed the ability to reconfigure as even more important. While this can be viewed as reuse in Version N+1, I wonder whether this is captured in the reuse figures. Does anyone know of any research into "realignment times" pre and post SOA?

norbyf1
norbyf1

I recently completed a Web Services project using RESTful technology. As a consultant, it behoved me to have the work completed quickly and also have my code accessible and understandable for my successors. RESTful technology had already been decided upon as the vechicle for the Web Services. The project involved message passsing and parsing among three inter-related companies, so simplicity from the user's perspective was a must. After a brief consideration of incorporating REST into Microsoft's WCF, I decided to go with pure REST. The transition from the query string way of thinking to the RESTful philosophy was not difficult. The tricky part is setting up what the web calls should be, and then using ISAPI_Rewrite(Helicon) or URL Rewrite(Microsoft) to transform the Web Service REST calls into query strings handleable by the underlying service. This occasionally requires some tricky Regular Expression manipulations. In summary, new techniques need to be learned, but the simplicity of the interface from the user perspective makes it well woth the effort.

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