Friday, October 26, 2007

Comfort Zone

Joe McKendrick (Yes, SOA can be boxed) discusses the tension between "the ultimate meaning and purpose of SOA" and the "comfort zone" of many enterprises. This tension is implicit in a lot of recent debate about SOA.

Firstly, the disagreement between Harry Pierson (Microsoft) and David Pallmann (Neudesic). In a post called The Worst of Both Worlds, Harry questions why anyone would want to buy Neudesic's product, and argues that "enforcing centralized management basically negates SOA's primary strength". From a comfort zone perspective, however, the distributed nature of SOA might seem like a "management nightmare", and this is indeed the basis of Neudesic's marketing.

Secondly, the disagreement between Nick Malik (also Microsoft) and JJ Dubray. In a post entitled SOA in the Coordination Model, Nick suggested that "Enterprise SOA [is] a distant fantasy for many enterprises". JJ felt that this statement was unhelpful, perhaps rocking the boat for SOA champions like himself, and accused Nick of having No Clue, Not a Clue.

I agree that Nick's comment might be used (out of context) by those hostile to SOA. JJ accuses Nick of FUD, because he didn't "measure the consequences of what he wrote". But I think it would be a very sad day if blogs were censored or self-censored to avoid making any uncomfortable or inconvenient statements. The important question remains whether Nick's statement is true.

Nick didn't say that Enterprise SOA was impossible, he implied that it was difficult. Enterprise SOA may well require an enterprise to move outside its comfort zone. For this reason, it's quite easy to believe that many enterprises will not achieve the full potential of Enterprise SOA. I didn't think Nick was saying anything more than that.

As I commented in an earlier post on Optimism, some SOA champions (including Jeff Schneider) come close to equating pessimism with ignorance. But in my experience it takes more to persuade enterprises to move out of their comfort zone than reassuring noises from vendors and an apparent cosy consensus between experts. Disagreement between SOA champions may be uncomfortable.

But sometimes more productive, and certainly more entertaining.

No comments: