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It would appear that service-oriented architecture (SOA) is more than the latest buzz term among IT vendors. According to a new report by Aberdeen Group, nine out of 10 companies are either adopting or have adopted SOA in their IT infrastructures. By the end of this year, they will have acquired meaningful experience in SOA planning, design and programming. The report, entitled "Enterprise Service Bus and SOA Middleware," is based on an Aberdeen benchmark survey of more than 120 IT and business professionals. Overall, it finds growing acceptance of the technology, although the trend is especially strong among large companies, with annual revenues of at least $1bn.
Still, migrating to SOA doesn't come without a price, Aberdeen said. "Redesigning business processes, high IT integration costs, and customization challenges are eating up 40 percent of the IT budget in integration expenditures," says Peter S. Kastner, the firm's vice president and research director for enterprise integration. He says companies are taking three distinct approaches to SOA adoption. The first is dubbed "SOA Lite." Based on the use of open-source programs and industry standards, it is best suited for smaller businesses with relatively simple integration needs and basic Web services, such as employee self-service. The second approach, "Enterprise SOA," consists of SOA middleware for mid-sized to large companies with complex, critical installations. The third, "SOA ERP," is also of most use to larger companies, providing an entry to SOA through extensions to enterprise resource planning software. The Aberdeen report looks at SOA adoption as of mid-2006, with an emphasis on enterprise service buses (ESBs), middleware that links and manages business processes across an SOA. In essence, SOA is the latest flavor of systems integration technology. It provides a framework for operating multiple business applications in a coherent fashion. The approach is especially valuable for companies providing or utilizing Web services based on disparate systems.
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